That statement is not true. Though Blatt, the Capobiancos, and many others have a difficult time understanding it, the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) is not about race. It is about the special political status of members of Indian tribes.
In her blog, American Indians in Children's Literature, on a page titled, "We are Not People of Color", Debbie Reese explains,
"Very few people know that American Indians in the United States have a status that marks us as distinct from minority or underrepresented populations (such as African Americans). That status is that we are sovereign tribal nations."To expand on that, from the Bureau of Indian Affairs FAQ page,
"What is the relationship between the tribes and the United States?and
The relationship between federally recognized tribes and the United States is one between sovereigns, i.e., between a government and a government. This “government-to-government” principle, which is grounded in the United States Constitution, has helped to shape the long history of relations between the federal government and these tribal nations."
"Who is an American Indian or Alaska Native?Notice the BIA clearly states rights and protections to American Indians do not come from a person's identity as an Indian in an ethnological sense, but because he or she is a member of a federally recognized tribe.
The rights, protections, and services provided by the United States to individual American Indians and Alaska Natives flow not from a person's identity as such in an ethnological sense, but because he or she is a member of a federally recognized tribe. That is, a tribe that has a government-to-government relationship and a special trust relationship with the United States. These special trust and government-to-government relationships entail certain legally enforceable obligations and responsibilities on the part of the United States to persons who are enrolled members of such tribes."
Merriam-Webster Dictionary says "ethnology" means,
"a science that deals with the division of human beings into races and their origin, distribution, relations, and characteristics".
Now that we have the definition of ethnology, we could restate the above information from the BIA to say the rights and protections provided by the United States to individual American Indians do not come from a person's identity as such in a racial sense, but instead because he or she is a member of a federally recognized tribe.
Children who are tribal members, or the offspring of tribal members, are the ONLY children covered under the ICWA. A decision in favor of the Cherokee Nation and the Brown family in the Baby Veronica case will ONLY apply to these children, and has no bearing on children of any minority group who does not meet the criteria to be considered an "Indian child." This case will not affect interracial adoptions of children, but it could very well undermine tribal sovereignty and undo years of progress we have made in protecting our Indian children from being placed in non-Indian homes where they lose their culture, history, language and traditions - in essence, their very identity as a tribal citizen. The ICWA was enacted to prevent this very thing, but now because non-Indians (once again) want our children, the law is under attack from people, like Blatt, who fail to acknowledge our sovereign rights and the importance of our identity as tribal citizens.
Those are my thoughts for today.
Thanks for reading.
copyright 2013, Polly's Granddaughter - TCBTweet