This morning the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments in Brackeen v. Haaland, the federal court case challenging the constitutionality of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).  The case comes to Court from a decision by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals that found the ICWA was constitutional except for certain provisions of the Act such as the requirements for “active efforts” and a “qualified expert witness.” The Fifth Circuit also found that the Act’s placement preference for Indian children with “other Indian families’ was also unconstitutional.  These provisions are at the heart and core of the ICWA.

The case will be heard later this fall, which will allow tribes to mobilize their response in support of the constitutionality of the ICWA.  CILS and other tribal ICWA advocacy groups will be calling on all California Tribes and tribal organizations to support and sign on to an amicus brief (“friend of the court brief”) that will be submitted by the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) and the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI).

CILS will continue to update tribes on the briefing timeline and other developments.  If you have questions concerning the case or want to learn more please contact Dorothy Alther at or 760-746-8941.

Thank you and we look forward to your support.