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40 Years of ICWA

November 8 was the 40th anniversary of the Indian Child Welfare Act [25 U.S.C. Section 1901-1963], also known as ICWA. Throughout the late 1800s and 1900s, indigenous children were forcibly removed from their families and sent to Indian boarding schools, either via provisions in treaties or by other methods. By the 1960s and 1970s, indigenous children in the United States were six times more likely to be removed from their families and put into foster care, even though indigenous Americans represent 1.7 percent of the population.

ICWA has two purposes: “to protect [native] families from the unwarranted removal of their children” and to empower tribal sovereignty by giving tribes the ability to make decisions regarding their own children. Anyone who has dealt with family law is familiar with “the best interests of the child” which is the gold standard of decision-making in child custody arrangements. ICWA provides additional guidance on the best interest of the native child. On this milestone anniversary, the Law Library offers a bibliography of resources in our stacks related to this important civil rights law.

Stella Yellow Shirt and Baby, Sicangu Oyate (Heyn Photo. 1899) Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. [//hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3b41093 ]


For practitioners, Arizona State University’s American Indian Studies program offers a guide of locality-based guidelines, and the National Indian Law Library offers a similar bibliography.

KF8260.A328 1978 F33 2009  Fletcher, Matthew L. M., Singel, Wenona T, Fort, Kathryn E. eds. Facing the future : the Indian Child Welfare Act at 30.

KF8260.A328 1978 J66 2018  Gaines-Stoner, Kelly. The Indian Child Welfare Act handbook : a legal guide to the custody and adoption of Native American children. 3rd ed.

KF26 .I527 1974f  United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs. Subcommittee on Indian Affairs. Indian child welfare program : hearings before the Subcommittee on Indian Affairs of the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, United States Senate, Ninety-third Congress, second session … April 8 and 9, 1974.

KF3735.Z9 C47 2016 Duquette, Donald N., Ann M. Haralambie, & Vivek S. Sankaran, eds. Child welfare law and practice : representing children, parents, and state agencies in abuse, neglect, and dependency cases.

KF8205 .A76 2014 Conference of Western Attorneys General. American Indian law deskbook. 2014 ed.

KF8205.P48 2012 Pevar, Stephen L. The Rights of Indians and tribes. 4th ed.

KF8260.A328 1978  A15 2005   United States. Government Accountability Office. Indian Child Welfare Act: existing information on implementation issues could be used to target guidance and assistance to states: report to congressional requesters.

KIE110 .R53 2016  Richland, Justin B. Introduction to tribal legal studies. 3rd ed.

KIE380 .I53 1981 Indian family law and child welfare : a text. 

KIE1355 .A89 2010  Atwood, Barbara Ann, 1947-   Children, tribes, and states : adoption and custody conflicts over American Indian children.

KIE2145 .G74 2017 Ratteree, Kathleen and Norbert S. Hill, eds. The Great vanishing act : blood quantum and the future of native nations.

E98.A15 F35 1972 Fanshel, David.  Far from the reservation:  the transracial adoption of American Indian children.

MLCM 92/08670 (H) Plantz, Margaret C. Indian child welfare :a status report : final report of the survey of Indian child welfare and implementation of the Indian Child Welfare Act and Section 428 of the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980.

HV875.55.B75 2012 Briggs, Laura. Somebody’s children : the politics of transracial and transnational adoption. 

HV40.S61723 2011 Schiele, Jerome H. ed. Social welfare policy : regulation and resistance among people of color.

Viva la Causa! Dolores Huerta and Hispanic Heritage Month

During Hispanic Heritage Month, we remember Americans of Hispanic heritage who have positively shaped the society of the United States. Dolores Huerta is definitely a highlight on that list—and hers is a name prominent on lists of civil rights, women’s rights, immigration rights, and labor rights activists as well. If you listen to Ms. Huerta […]

Good Friends or Neighbors: Compurgators in Medieval Times

The following is a guest post by Dante Figueroa, a senior legal information analyst at the Law Library of Congress. Dante has contributed a number of In Custodia Legis blog posts, including on The Rehabilitation of Dante Alighieri, Seven Centuries Later, Resources and Treasures of the Italian Parliamentary Libraries,  Legislation Protecting Italian Cultural Heritage, Proposed Anti-Sect Legislation […]

Happy Birthday Bernardo de Gálvez y Madrid–An Honorary U.S. Citizen

  Bernardo Vicente Apolinar de Gálvez y Madrid is one of those unsung heroes of American history.  Today, I would like to share a few highlights about this giant of Americana. Born on July 23, 1746, in Macharaviaya—a town and municipio in Málaga within the autonomous community of Andalusia, which is situated in the south […]

Baseball and the Law

I love my job. Starting today, and continuing into July 2019, the Library of Congress is hosting a new exhibit, Baseball Americana. I hope you all make plans to come and see this fascinating look into baseball and our culture. The Library has lots of interesting artifacts, bolstered by items and material from the Baseball […]

Interview with María Daniela Jiménez, Junior Fellow at the Law Library of Congress

Today’s interview is with María Daniela Jiménez. María Daniela is a Junior Fellow in the Collection Services Division at the Law Library of Congress. Describe your background. I was born and raised in Orange County, California, and have lived in the Bay Area, Arizona, Indiana, Mexico City, and Rome. I really enjoy moving. What is your academic/professional […]

Naaltsoos Sání and the Long Walk Home

Today marks the 150th anniversary of the Long Walk, the 450-mile journey the Diné (Navajo) took from Hwééldi (Fort Sumner) to the heart of the Navajo Nation, the area around Window Rock, Arizona. The Diné started their travels home after the signing of the Naaltsoos Sání–also known as the Treaty of Bosque Redondo and the […]