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.