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Native America Calling: The challenges of enforcing the Indian Child Welfare Act
Wednesday, November 1, 2023

The challenges of enforcing ICWA
A non-Native woman in Alaska refuses to abide by a tribal court order to turn an Alaska Native foster child over to the girl’s family members.

It’s a blatant disregard of tribal sovereignty even after a notable re-affirmation of the Indian Child Welfare Act by the U.S. Supreme Court. The woman took custody of the child, named Chanel, at the request of the girl’s father — right before he was convicted of murdering Chanel’s mother during a domestic dispute.

Native America Calling takes a look at the case, as well as ongoing efforts to bolster compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act.

Guests on Native America Calling
Antonia Commack (Iñupiaq from the Native Village of Shungnak), best friend of Baby Chanel’s mother

Bossii Opsal (Iñupiaq from the Native Village of Koyuk), Sacramento State University student and social media influencer

Simona Bearcub (citizen of the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes), community defense and land defender

Matthew Fletcher (Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians), law professor at the University of Michigan Law School and author of the “Turtle Talk” blog

Sydney Tarzwell, staff attorney for the Native American Rights Fund

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Native America Calling
Listen to Native America Calling every weekday at 1pm Eastern.
Alternate Links: Native Voice One | NAC

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Indian Country celebrates decision in support of Indian Child Welfare Act (June 20, 2023)