Lawmakers, Indigenous leaders react to SCOTUS decision on ICWA at Friday news conference

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Minnesota leaders and representatives from the Indigenous community held a press conference on Friday afternoon commenting on the Supreme Court upholding the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).

U.S. Senator Tina Smith was joined at the Mino Oski Ain Dah Yung Center in St. Paul by Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan as well as Native and Tribal leaders from the Fond Du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, the Lower Sioux Indian Community and more.

The Supreme Court’s 7-2 decision on the Brackeen vs. Haaland case gives Indigenous families the priority in the adoption process of Indigenous children, which Senator Smith says is a “key protection to uphold bonds between Native American children and their families, cultures, and heritage are maintained after centuries of mistreatment.”

Lt. Gov. Flanagan is a member of the White Earth Nation and the highest-ranking Native American woman elected to an executive office to date, according to a statement from Senator Smith.

Supreme Court preserves law that aims to keep Native American children with tribal families

The court left in place the 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act, which was enacted to address concerns that Native children were being separated from their families and, too frequently, placed in non-Native homes.