Indian Child Welfare Act | KNKX

Indian Child Welfare Act

Washington Supreme Court Justice Raquel Montoya-Lewis, left, reacts to applause after she was sworn in, Monday, Jan. 6, 2020, in Olympia, Wash. Montoya-Lewis wrote the unanimous opinion calling for the Indian Child Welfare Act to be more broadly applied.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press (file)


A Washington Supreme Court decision saying the Indian Child Welfare Act should be more broadly applied is being called a big win for Native American rights.

 

Congress passed the Act in 1978. Washington state has its own version as well, called the Washington Indian Child Welfare Act. What the welfare acts do is require that tribes be notified and allowed to intercede in child custody or loss of parental rights cases if the family has any tribal relationships.

 

The unanimous opinion was written by Washington’s first Native American justice Raquel Montoya-Lewis, who cited the long history of Native American children being taken from their communities.

Decades after the federal government stopped taking Native American children from their homes and putting them in boarding schools, Native families still face challenges staying together.