Publications, Arts and Media
Social and Cultural Sites
Language and Historical Sites
Specific Tribal Links
Indices and Miscellany
Court Cases and Legal Rights Issues concerning the First Nations and their People
The Rost Case
The Rost case revolves around two twins who are part Native American, and the battle of their tribe, the Dry Creek Rancheria, to invoke the Indian Child Welfare Act and have the children removed from their adoptive home and placed with their grandmother. The tribe won the case initially, but lost in appeal on January 18, 1996. You can read the entire opinion from the California Appeals Court now. This case led many in the community to put pressure on the government to amend the ICWA, and several bills ensued that would have seriously undermined the First Nations' right to self-determination. In response,the National Congress of American Indians came up with their own amendments to the ICWA. These competing philosophies are still dueling it out in the United States legislature. I encourage everyone to read the bills, detailed below, and to view the other links in this category.
The Indian Child Welfare Act Amendments
Titles 1 and 2 of "The Adoption Promotion and Stability Act of 1996" were added to the Small Business Protection and Minimum Wage Increase Act , and signed into law in August of 1996. Title I and II were the sections dealing with the Adoption Tax Credit and with removing racial barriers to adoption. Title III, amending the Indian Child Welfare Act, was not included. Those amendments, sponsored by Congressprsns. Pryce and Tiahrt, did not have the support of a single First Nation, and were struck from the Senate version of the bill in committee. The Senate Indian Affairs Committee began hearing testimony on June 26th, 1996 to the alternative ICWA amendments that were proposed by the National Congress of American Indians. You can read the proposed NCAI amendments here. Sen. John McCain submitted a bill that includes most of the language the NCAI proposed, S. 1962, which passed the Senate on 9/27/96. the House was to consider the companion Bill to s.1962, H.R 3828, introduced by Rep. Don Young of Alaska, however Congress adjourned before it could be considered, thus killing the bill's chances. Because S. 1962 did not include language specifically prohibiting the use of the "Existing Indian Family Doctrine," it did not have unqualified support among Native American activists.
In 1997, another version of ICWA amendments were introduced. These amendments largely have the support of the American Indian Community, as well as the National Indian Child Welfare Association. S. 569 and HB 1082 (companion bills), have as of January, 1999, been unable to make it out of Committee and to the floor of the House or Senate for a vote. Primary opposition comes from WA Senator Slade Gorton, long an enemy of the First Nations, as well as the National Council for Adoption, a radical group composed of private adoption agencies, who is also the nemesis of the Adoptee Activist community. The NCFA would like to gut ICWA so that it would only apply to on-reservation, involuntary child custody proceedings.
More information on ICWA and proposed amendments is available at the National Indian Child Welfare Association and the Indian Child Welfare Law Center.
Please contact your Senators and Representatives, and tell them you support SB 569 and HB 1082. Please also read the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 for further understanding of the issues. Also of interest are the following articles on ICWA.
A Line in the Sand Fascinating site details sovereignity issues, cultural property issues, and more
American Indian Repatriation Foundation An organization "committed to assisting in the return of sacred ceremonial material
to the appropriate American Indian Nation,clan, or family,and to educating the public about the importance of repatriation."
Counsel Quest A variety of legal information including links to federal statutes, constitutions, Acts, and more
The Desecration Informative site on the desecration of prehistoric native burial ground, and a buyback attempt.
Hawaiian Sovereignity Elections Council The Council was formally dissolved as of December 31, 1996. This web site now serves as an archive of the activities of the Council.
Huron Indian Cemetary Visit here to help in the fight to preserve the Wyandot Indian Cemetery in Kansas City
International Indian Treaty Council Excellent information on UN declarations, historical treaties, action alerts, and more
Legislative Impact Consolidated legislative research resource for Indian Country
Midwest SOARRING group in
Illinois working for the protection of Native
burial sites, burial goods and sacred sites.
Norma Jean Croy Native Shasta woman wrongly imprisoned
SAIIC South and Meso American Indian Rights Centre