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gif of mayan eagle Court Cases and Legal Rights Issues concerning the First Nations and their People

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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.

Indian Child Welfare Act: The need for a separate law. Article by B.J Jones, author and attorney.

Indian Child Welfare Act Updates From the Makah Nation

Special Report: Under Siege. The Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978.

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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."

Bureau of Indian Affairs United States government bureau's homepage

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.

FindLaw: American Indian Law Treaties, U.S Codes, Cases, and more

First Nations/First Peoples Issues

Government Resources for Native Americans on the Internet

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

Indian Gaming News and Commentary

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada In English and French. Far superior to the U.S Bureau's Website

Indigenous Peoples' Law and Legal Issues

International Indian Treaty Council Excellent information on UN declarations, historical treaties, action alerts, and more

International Office of the Leonard Peltier Defense Fund Please stop here and learn how you can help FREE PELTIER!

Legislative Impact Consolidated legislative research resource for Indian Country

National Indian Policy Centre

Native American Bar Association

Native American Constitution and Law Digitization Project

Native American Prison Issues

Native American Religious Freedom

Native American Rights Fund Huge site with cases, legal reviews, and more

Net Warriors Indigenous Nations and Peoples call for Support at the Intersessional Working Group on the United Nations Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

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

Researching Indigenous Peoples Rights Under the Law

Resources on Aztec and Mayan Law

SAIIC South and Meso American Indian Rights Centre

Repatriation and Reburial Issues

United States Code Title 25 Indians From the Cornell law site

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