Brackeen v. Haaland
WHAT IS THIS CASE ABOUT?
Brackeen v. Haaland is a constitutional attack on the Indian Child Welfare Act. The State of Texas has been challenging ICWA for years, claiming it is unconstitutional based on several arguments. In February 2022 the case was been accepted for review by the United States Supreme Court. Later this year the Supreme Court will hear arguments from Tribes and the Federal Government, that ICWA is and remains constitutional- and the Court will hear from the State of Texas and a group of non-native adoptive families why they would strike ICWA down.
WHY IS THIS CASE SO IMPORTANT?
The Brackeen v. Haaland case is very important for several reasons, here are a few pf those reasons. First, it is going to be heard by the Supreme Court, and the decision of the Court will impact ICWA across the whole country. Second, unlike some prior high-profile cases, this challenge to ICWA is not about a certain provision of the law, it is about whether the law should exit at all. Third, the goal of the parties that brought this case is not to just attack ICWA, their goal is to change the entire way in which tribes are viewed under the laws of the United States. This is not a case about Indian children, it is a challenge to tribal sovereignty and whether the laws of tribal nationhood and tribal citizenship are legitimate.
HOW IS CTFC UNITING TRIBES IN THIS EFFORT?
The Coalition, as a statewide tribal organization focused exclusively on Tribal Child Welfare, has worked for the last several years on uniting the California tribal voice in the Brackeen case. The Coalition has organized California tribal efforts on “friend of the Court” briefs (also called Amicus Briefs) to be certain ALL California Tribes have a voice in this pivotal case. Further, we are conducting webinars and training addressing Brackeen issues and we have resources available to all tribes so they have the latest information on the case and the tribal efforts. CTFC works with the intervening tribes, specifically, the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, on litigation, public inquiries and legislative strategy. We are also working in partnership with Jenner Block, the legal team representing three intervening tribes, on national strategy.
We are hosting monthly meetings with our Member Tribes to provide regular updates as Supreme Court briefing moves forward. Our goal is to unite California tribes, to ensure the unique and diverse interests of the sovereign nations in the state are represented and heard in this national effort to preserve ICWA and protect tribal sovereignty.
HOW MAY MY TRIBE SUPPORT THE EFFORT TO PROTECT AND
Your voice and the voice of California tribes is critical. If your Tribe is not already a member of the Coalition, join now! You will be added to our delegate listserve and invited to attend our monthly Brackeen specific updates in addition to other webinars and trainings. Further, it is essential that your tribe be ready to sign on to the amicus briefs that are being prepared – these briefs are a crucial way that the Supreme Court knows your tribe is united with all tribes in fighting to uphold ICWA. And please do join CTFC in thanking Attorney General Bonta and his team for their continued leadership in support of ICWA and tribal sovereignty!