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Your Call

Supreme Court votes 7-2 to uphold the Indian Child Welfare Act

United States Supreme Court
United States Supreme Court

On this edition of Your Call's Media Roundtable, we discuss the Supreme Court decision that upheld the Indian Child Welfare Act, which is known as ICWA.

In a 7-2 decision, the Supreme Court rejected challenges to the 1978 federal law that is aimed at keeping Native children with their families.

According to NPR, the ICWA was enacted 45 years ago after a congressional investigation found that in the 1950s, '60s, and '70s, over one-third of all Native children had been removed from their homes, some forcibly, and placed with non-Indian families and institutions with no ties to the tribes. To ensure that would never happen again, the law established three preferences for the placement of Native children when they are adopted or put in foster care: the first preference is for placement with the child's extended family, then to other members of the tribe, and if neither of those is available, to members of another tribe.


Agnel Philip, data reporter for ProPublica

Jessica Lussenhop, award-winning reporter for ProPublica’s Midwest team

Web Resources:

Indian Country Today: Supreme Court affirms ICWA

The Nation: The Story of Baby O

ProPublica: Native American Families Are Being Broken Up in Spite of a Law Meant to Keep Children With Their Parents

Malihe Razazan is the senior producer of KALW's daily call-in program, Your Call.
Rose Aguilar has been the host of Your Call since 2006. She became a regular media roundtable guest in 2001. In 2019, the San Francisco Press Club named Your Call the best public affairs program. In 2017, The Nation named it the most valuable local radio show.