October 8, 2020
– Today, Nevada Attorney General Aaron D. Ford joined a bipartisan
coalition of 26 attorneys general in support of the United States and four
federally recognized tribes in their efforts to uphold critical protections
guaranteed under the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).
coalition filed an amicus brief before the U.S. Supreme Court in Haaland
v. Brackeen and Cherokee Nation v. Brackeen highlighting the
states’ compelling interest in standing up for the well-being of all children,
including Native American children, in state child-custody proceedings.
“The ICWA is a necessary tool to protect the well-being
of Native American children and ensure they maintain a connection to their
tribal communities,” said AG Ford. “These protections must be upheld in order to maintain this vital
defense of Native American children and tribal communities.”
enacted the ICWA in 1978 in response to state and private parties initiating
state child-custody proceedings that removed Native American children from the
custody of their parents — often without good cause — and placed them in the
custody of non-tribal adoptive and foster homes. The removal of these children
posed an existential threat to the continuity and vitality of tribal
ICWA’s provisions safeguard the rights of Native American children, parents and
tribes in state child-custody proceedings, and seek to promote the placement of
Native American children with members of their extended families or in other
tribal homes. In the four decades since Congress enacted ICWA, the statute has
become the foundation of state-tribal relations in the realm of child custody
and family services.
areas represented by members of the coalition are home to approximately 86% of the
federally recognized tribes in the United States.
filing the amicus brief, AG Ford joins the attorneys general of California,
Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine,
Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North
Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Virginia, Vermont,
Washington, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia.
copy of the amicus brief is attached.