Oklahoma Watch: Supreme Court Decision Threatens to Erode Longstanding Tribal Protections

The Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978, known as ICWA, was passed by Congress as a response to nationwide Indian child removal policies which saw more than one-third of native children being systematically taken from their homes by state social-service workers and delivered to non-native families and institutions. They were stripped of their identities and assimilated into America’s predominantly white society. Remnants of such policies are still scattered throughout Oklahoma today, mostly in the form of federally funded religious boarding schools and their survivors. The ICWA prioritizes family and tribal placements for Indian children in child custody cases and requires states to notify tribes when those proceedings occur.

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