We write to you today with both a sense of celebration and a renewed call to action. We have recently witnessed a significant victory for the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) in the Supreme Court. This triumph is a testament to our collective efforts to protect the rights of Indigenous children and their families, and we extend our heartfelt gratitude to all of you who have stood by us in this fight.
However, as we savor this moment of progress, we cannot afford to rest on our laurels. There is a critical need to move forward, as our journey is far from over. The win at the Supreme Court is a positive step, but it is merely one piece of a larger puzzle. The challenge that now lies before us is to ensure that states honor these federal laws, as the ICWA is currently not audited or regulated at the state level.
In our home state of South Dakota, the urgency of this issue is all too evident. Indigenous children make up over half of the children in Child Protective Services (CPS), and a staggering 90 percent of these children are placed into white homes. This not only undermines the cultural heritage and rights of our Indigenous communities, but it also leads to the state receiving millions of dollars every year, creating a monetized system that blatantly disregards the essence of ICWA.
Our focus must now shift towards enacting a system of regulation and audit for ICWA at the state level. We need to ensure that states are held accountable for their implementation of the law. This is not simply a matter of legal compliance, but a question of justice, of cultural preservation, and of the wellbeing of our Indigenous children and families.
Therefore, we implore you to join us as we continue our advocacy. The fight for Indigenous rights is far from over, and we need your support more than ever. Please stay informed, engage with your local representatives, and help us spread the word about the importance of honoring and enforcing ICWA at the state level.
Together, we can make a difference. Together, we can ensure that the spirit of ICWA is upheld and that the rights of Indigenous children and families are protected.
Thank you once again for your unwavering support. Your belief in our cause fuels our determination to keep fighting. We look forward to continuing this journey together.
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