Resolution 2020-23: Support a State Child Protection Law

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WHEREAS, Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC) is an Alaska Native tribal health and social services consortium established by the Interior Alaska tribes and tribal communities, to provide a unified voice in advancing sovereign tribal governments through the promotion of physical and mental wellness, education, socioeconomic development and culture of the Interior Alaska Native; and

WHEREAS, The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) was passed by Congress in 1978 to help prevent the widespread practice before 1978 of state courts permitting non-Indian persons and couples to adopt, or be foster placements for Indian children; and

WHEREAS, National Indian and non-Indian organizations, state governments, members of Congress, tribes and tribal communities, and thousands of Al/AN individuals have supported ICWA as an essential and effective policy that protects the best interest of Al/AN children; and

WHEREAS, Early application and consistent compliance with ICWA prevents unlawful removals of Alaska Native children from family and promotes stable placements in loving, permanent homes, connected to family and culture; and

WHEREAS, Current research shows that family, culture, and community promote resiliency and healthy development in Alaska Native youth; and WHEREAS, Alaska Native children continue to be taken from their homes at alarming rates (rates three times higher than other children) due largely to misapplication, ignorance, or willful non-compliance with the mandates of ICWA and often without notice to or engagement with the
child’s tribe; and

WHEREAS, On June 14, 2016 the Bureau of Indian Affairs promulgated comprehensive, legally-binding regulations clarifying the requirements of ICWA for state courts; and

WHEREAS, These regulations provide valuable clarification for both states and tribes on the steps to properly implement ICWA requirements and necessitate that both states and tribes work closely together; and

WHEREAS, ICWA’s almost 60% of the children in foster care in 2020 are Alaska Native; and

WHEREAS, Recent opposition to ICWA has risen in the form of frivolous litigation, misinformation campaigns with Congress, and attempts to garner media attention by exploiting tragic events and promoting racist, inaccurate stereotypes of Alaska Native and American Indian tribes.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Tanana Chiefs Conference Full Board of Directors does hereby recognize and firmly support the continued need for the Indian Child Welfare Act; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Tanana Chiefs Conference Full Board of Directors, in an effort to improve Indian Child Welfare Act compliance and implementation and to mitigate the possibility of harm and lack of permanency to Alaska Native children in the foster care system, support the adoption of Alaska statutes and regulations that mirror the intent of federal ICWA.

Submitted by: Evansville Tribal Council


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