Lecture Description

In the second half of the twentieth century, an estimated 25 to 35% of American Indian children were living apart from their families, and they were vastly over-represented in state child welfare systems. To explain this Indian child welfare crisis, government authorities claimed that Indian children were “forgotten” children, and they promoted their fostering and adoption by non-Indian families. By contrast, Indian families and their advocates charged that many social workers were using ethnocentric and middle-class criteria to unnecessarily remove Indian children from their families and communities. Through creating their own child welfare organizations and legal codes, as well as working for the Indian Child Welfare Act, Indian activists and their allies sought to bring Indian child welfare under the control of Indian nations. This presentation examines the debate that ensued over Indian children in the 1960s and 70s and that continues even up to the present in the recent Supreme Court case involving Baby Veronica.


American Indian Social Welfare and Public Assistance

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