UPDATE: House Bill 1536 was signed into law by Gov. Doug Burgum.
House Bill 1536 would provide for a legislative management study regarding cementing the decades old federal Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) into North Dakota law.
The ACLU of North Dakota supports House Bill 1536. ICWA was passed by Congress in 1978 to address the nationwide epidemic of Native children being discriminatorily removed from their homes by child welfare agencies and placed into non-Native homes at disproportionate rates. ICWA requires state courts to make active efforts to keep Native families together, and it applies to children who are citizens or eligible to be citizens of a federally recognized tribe.
Tribes have a fundamental right to govern themselves and make decisions on issues that affect their own people — including Native children — without interference from federal or state governments.