The Supreme Court ruled in our favor, agreeing that Native children should remain in kinship care with their relatives.
We Won! Supreme Court Preserves ICWA [Indian Child Welfare Act]  
Chase Iron Eyes, Lakota People's Law Project - 15 JUN 2023
We Won! Supreme Court Preserves ICWA [Indian Child Welfare Act]
Chase Iron Eyes, Lakota Law [] - 15 JUN 2023

If you havenít yet heard todayís joyous news ó and I cannot overstate how wonderful and important this is ó today, the Supreme Court upheld, in its entirety, the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA)!

This is a monumental day for Indigenous and human rights. The Supreme Courtís decision is a huge win not just for Native children, families, and cultures, but also for tribal sovereignty. This ruling properly recognizes tribes as sovereign political nations with a right to self-determination and affirms our inherent right to care for our own. The impacts of this decision ó which, had it gone another direction, could have created a domino effect threatening Native sovereignty far more broadly ó will be felt in a positive way for the next seven generations and beyond.

Justice Amy Coney Barrett, of all people, wrote the majority opinion detailing the High Courtís 7-2 decision (justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito dissented). On the key issue of whether the law is somehow discriminatory against white people, the justices declined to rule, rightly pointing out that the petitioners have suffered no harm. "The bottom line is that we reject all of petitioners' challenges to the statute, some on the merits and others for lack of standing," Barrett wrote.

If youíve been following our communications for some time, you likely know that Lakota Law published a widely read blog, gathered more than 166,000 signatures on various pro-IWCA actions, and submitted an amicus brief to the High Court, all to defend this absolutely critical, life-saving law. In the past we also drafted enforcement guidelines for ICWA, and its author, the late, great Sen. James Abourezk, chaired our advisory board.

Suffice to say, this is a day to acknowledge that all the hard work and long hours have been well spent. Itís a moment for us to look at one another with gratitude and appreciation and celebrate. On that note, if you took the time to write to the president, petition the Department of Justice, and/or ask your state to codify ICWAís key provisions, I cannot thank you enough.

Letís also remember this: despite its excellent decision today, this Court remains likely to continue rolling back the rights and freedoms of other groups with fewer protections under current law. So letís not rest on our laurels. We must remain vigilant defenders not just of our Indigenous relatives, but of all vulnerable populations. As we say in Lakota, mitakuye oyasin ó we are all related.

Wopila tanka ó thank you for all you do to protect our children and sovereignty!

Chase Iron Eyes
Co-Director and Lead Counsel
The Lakota Peopleís Law Project



Reprinted as an historical reference document under the Fair Use doctrine of international copyright law.