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Appeals court hears case of on adoptions of Native Americans

March 13, 2019

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A federal appeals court in New Orleans is set to hear arguments on a 1978 law giving preference to Native American families in foster care and adoption proceedings involving Native American children.

A federal district judge in Texas last year struck down the Indian Child Welfare Act. That was a victory for opponents who say it is racially motivated and unconstitutionally discriminatory. Backers of the law, including numerous tribes and the federal government, say that if the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upholds that decision, many Native American children will be lost to their families and tribes.

Backers of the law say its definition of “Indian child” is based on tribal affiliations that are political, not racial.

A three judge 5th Circuit panel was to hear arguments Wednesday morning.