UPDATE: The BIA has issued ‘new’ ICWA Guidelines and intends to make them “rules” .
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Among many things – it states that there is NO “existing Indian family” doctrine, (the family does not need to be connected to the reservation in any way), it doesn’t matter if the child lives on or off the reservation, there is no need for a certain blood quantum, tribal government has total say over whether a child is a member and subject to ICWA, EVERY child custody case MUST be vetted to see if it is ICWA, (because children who are just 1% Native heritage might not look Indian at all – so you have to question EVERY child…just in case they have a drop of heritage), transfer to tribal court from state court can happen anytime a tribe feels like it, if there is any question that a child is Indian – he is to be treated as such until proven otherwise, and the tribe has a right to intervene in a family even if the child is not being removed from the home.
Total disregard for the extended family of our multiracial children… the tribal government has complete right to interfere in our families.
The only “best interest” of importance is keeping the child with the tribe. It reiterates that there is “a presumption that ICWA’s placement preferences are in the best interests of Indian children; therefore, an independent analysis of “best interest” would undermine Congress’s findings.”
In other words – it reiterates the prejudicial assumptions that EVERYONE with any tribal heritage has exactly the same feelings, thoughts and needs. It is apparently always in their best interest to be under the jurisdiction of tribal government, even if the parents and grandparents have raised them in a different environment with a different worldview.
AND you can’t even question the placement decision of tribal court. Because, according to these rules, pointing out that a certain home has a history of child abuse undermines tribal court. So… the children we are currently fighting for… the ones who have been placed in known abusive homes, or are threatened with placement in known abusive home… we can’t even “question” the placement decision of the tribal court.
We NEED to get back to DC. As some of you know, I rolled my camper on black ice in January. I do not have a vehicle right now. I don’t care how I get to DC or where I stay. If I can get an old panel van – I would gladly stay in that. The important thing is to get there.
These new BIA rules reiterate over and over that the “best interest” of the child has already been determined by Congress – and that is that any child of even the smallest amount of heritage, who might not have ever been associated with the reservation and has no desire to be – is better off under tribal government jurisdiction.
Everyone knows that is ridiculous.
We need Congress to stop and think about what they have done and are doing to our families – and REVERSE IT.
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We are returning to DC to speak to legislative offices and educate the new Congress about the reality of how federal Indian policy is affecting many children and families across America.
One of the issues we are concerned with is the statement Former Attorney General Eric Holder made on December 3, 2014, to many tribal leaders, vowing “to promote tribes’ authority to make placement decisions affecting tribal children; to gather information about where the Indian Child Welfare Act is being systematically violated; and to take appropriate, targeted action to ensure that the next generation of great tribal leaders can grow up in homes that are not only safe and loving, but also suffused with the proud traditions of Indian cultures.”
BIA officials have since confirmed the intention to strengthen regulations forcing the Indian Child Welfare Act upon families.
Totally missing from is an understanding that many enrollable children and families do not want to be forced into the worldview or living conditions that tribal leaders have decided are best for them. Many parents do not want tribal or federal government interfering in their families.d
Estimated need for travel expenses is $1000