TIME: The Fight Over Native American Adoptions Is About More Than Just the Children

When Congress passed the Indian Child Welfare Act in 1978, lawmakers from both parties were responding to more than two centuries of efforts by various governmental, religious and social welfare agencies to impose American values onto tribal communities. “There’s this continuity of this idea that Indian children don’t really belong with their families and they would be better off with white families,” says Margaret Jacobs, a historian at University of Nebraska-Lincoln who studies the treatment of Indian children in the U.S.

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