SCOTUS Upholds Native American Adoption Preferences

Image copyright: Unsplash

The Facts

  • In a 7-2 ruling on Thursday, the US Supreme Court has upheld the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) of 1978, which gives Native American tribes preference in the adoption and fostering of Native children.

  • The case, Haaland v. Brackeen, stems from challenges against the law brought by non-Native families seeking to adopt Native children in instances where the ICWA was invoked to keep children in a Native or tribal home. The plaintiffs argued that the law is racially discriminatory and an infringement on states' rights.


The Spin

Narrative A

The ICWA is one of the most important pieces of legislation when it comes to the rights of Native Americans, with this bipartisan ruling affirming the sovereignty of Native American tribes. The removal of Native children from their homes, through adoption or government-run boarding schools, was a weapon of cultural genocide. This ruling will protect the right of Native Americans to raise their children at home, immersed in their culture.

Narrative B

This decision, which was mostly decided on legal technicalities, will keep more Native children in abusive homes, depriving them of the rights children of other races enjoy. This racially discriminatory piece of legislation would not stand if it applied to any other race, and will force more Native children to endure utterly preventable mistreatment.


Sign up to our daily newsletter