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  • Human Rights Research Center

U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Native American Adoption Rights

June 16, 2023

[Image Source: Mariam Zuhaib/Associated Press Via New York Times]

Cited article Abbie VanSickle, The New York Times


HRRC supports the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the Indian Child Welfare Act. This Act is credited as a part of the reconciliation process for the historic and intergenerational harms of the forced removal of Native children from their families and their culture.


Article Summary


The U.S. Supreme Court voted to uphold the Indian Child Welfare Act, which prioritizes the adoption of Native American children to Native families. The law was challenged by a white Texas couple who stated that the law is a violation of the equal protection clause in the U.S. Constitution, due to perceived racial discrimination against them. Tribes argued that they are political entities and not racial groups, and therefore undermining that distinction would endanger all aspects of Native American law.


Justice Neil M. Gorsuch wrote that a primary goal of the current law was in place to remedy the history of forced removal of Native children from their families and their culture. President Biden considered the ruling a victory, acknowledging the dark history of "boarding schools" in North America, which were aimed at erasing Native American culture by removing children from their homes and changing their upbringing.

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