Volume 16: 2015-2016
Professor Christine Zuni-Cruz
Student Editor-In-Chief/Managing Editor
Professional Article Editors
Erica Valdez (Fall 2015)
Student Article Editors
Concetta Tsosie de Haro (Spring 2016)
Monique Chavez (Fall 2015)
Social Media Editor
Christy Chapman, Dianna Doublehead, Megan Horning, Louis Mallette, Tierra Marks, Stephanie Russo, Leia Viscarra
Special Issue Honoring Professor G. William Rice
Christine J. Jordan and Connie Tsosie de Haro
It is with great admiration, affection and respect that the Tribal Law Journal dedicates this issue to the memory of Professor G. William Rice. Professor Rice’s work had a wide and long-lasting impact on the Indian Law community. As legal professionals who strive to make a positive difference in the lives of Indigenous people, we can only hope to live in a way that would make Professor Rice proud. He will be dearly missed. The Tribal Law Journal is honored to publish his last article, American Indian Children and U.S Policy in this issue.
Angelique EagleWoman (Wambdi A. WasteWin) and G. William Rice
This article presents the major impact of implemented U.S. Indian policies on the lives of American Indian children. First, the article discusses U.S. policies aimed to re-socializing American Indians through imposition of external language, culture, and beliefs through a system of government-mandated education. In the late 1700s through the 1800s, the U.S. government set a course for military control over American Indian peoples. Re-socialization as an assimilation policy forced profound lifestyle and culture changes. These policies were aimed directly at American Indian children through mandatory Indian residential boarding schools. After decades of resistance, many tribal communities achieved educational reform.
Assimilation lead to the displacement of tribal self-identification with formal U.S. citizenship and required U.S. recognition of tribal enrollment status. The consequences from this shift in nationality by U.S. standards have resulted in the inability for some American Indian children to be recognized as formal tribal members, thereby decreasing the American Indian population over time.
Next, the health and welfare of American Indian children and families are discussed. Contemporary statistics continue to illustrate a high rate of poverty for Indian children and consequent health issues. Even more devastating has been the loss of Indian children through overzealous foster care and adoption practices by state social workers. With the passage and implementation of the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (“ICWA”), many of the most egregious removals of Indian children from their tribal families and communities have been reversed. However, U.S. courts continue to apply ICWA inconsistently.
In the final section of the paper, the strides tribal communities have taken to return to positive childhood environments for American Indian children are examined. The future of Tribal Nations in the U.S. rests in the hearts and minds of the children.
Key terms: American Indian Children, Native American Children, Indian Children, Indian Child Welfare Act, ICWA, Indian boarding school, residential boarding schools, tribal enrollment, tribal citizenship, tiny tots, Indian education, Indian adoption , Indian child foster care, Indian child removal