FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nov. 8, 2018
Muscogee (Creek) Nation Principal Chief Provides Statement Recognizing 40th Anniversary of Enactment of Federal Indian Child Welfare Act
OKMULGEE, Okla. – On behalf of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Principal Chief James R. Floyd prepared the following statement recognizing the 40th Anniversary of the Federal Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).
“Nov. 8, 2018 marks the 40th anniversary of the enactment of the Federal Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). The protections put in place by this Federal Act require each state to notify tribes of their ancestral children being removed from the care of their parent or guardian; obligation to provide expert witness testimony proving no cultural biases in the removal; requirement to place Indian children with relatives, within their own tribe or other Tribal Nations; and provide active efforts prior to the removal of Indian children from their homes and support the reunification of the Indian family. Within the last year, the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Children & Family Services Administration has provided services to more than 325 Muscogee (Creek) children who were in the custody of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services. This Act works to ensure every effort was made in placing those 325 children with relatives, tribal members or at the very least, members of other federally-recognized tribes.
The strength of our Nation relies on the safety and well-being of our tribal citizens, especially our children. Indian children continue to be removed from their homes for abuse and neglect at an overwhelming rate. Statistics show, in the State of Oklahoma, one in three children placed in foster care are Indian children.
In 1978, Congress found that ‘… Congress, through statutes, treaties, and the general course of dealing with Indian Tribes, has assumed the responsibility for the protection and preservation of Indian Tribes, and their resources; and that there is no resource that is more vital to the continued existence and integrity of Indian Tribes, than their children and that the U.S. has a direct interest, as trustee, in protecting Indian children who are members of or are eligible for membership in an Indian Tribe; and that an alarmingly high percentage of Indian families are broken up by the removal, often unwarranted, of their children from them by non-tribal public and private agencies and that an alarmingly high percentage of such children are placed in non-Indian foster and adoptive homes and institutions.’
The Muscogee (Creek) Nation stands in continued support of the ICWA enactment and the regulations, which protect and preserve our Mvskoke culture and promote the welfare of our children and families.”