The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), a decades-old law designed to give indigenous people adoption priority to indigenous children, is being challenged at the Supreme Court. The plaintiffs in Haaland vs. Brackeen say this system is racist due to non-Native families being at the bottom of the list. On this week’s In Depth, we’re asking: What does this mean for Indigenous communities in New York and across the nation?
We hear from Hilary Tompkins, a member of the Navajo Nation who was adopted by a white family before ICWA was enacted. We’re also joined by Joe Heath, general counsel for the Onondaga Nation, who explains the injustices leading up to ICWA and how challenging the act could affect tribal sovereignty. Frank Edwards, an assistant professor at Rutgers University, shares research on how ICWA has impacted the child welfare state over the last few decades.