Letter: Court case another Indigenous attack (Nov. 16, 2022)


In their typical insidious fashion to take people’s rights away, the Republicans are taking their  Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 case (Brackeen v. Haaland) to – their – SCOTUS in hopes to start the ball rolling for them and their billionaire buddies to finally strip all the indigenous peoples of their rights and land so they can buy it all and proceed to sink oil and gas wells, run cattle, mine rare earths/other minerals, tap its water.

The Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 is a United States federal law that governs jurisdiction over the removal of Native American children from their families in custody, foster care and adoption cases. It gives tribal governments exclusive jurisdiction over children who reside on, or are domiciled on a reservation.

Again, they’re doing this in typical Republican insidious fashion: whittling away, stealing from others, and starting with taking their children away from them. As many as one-third of Indian children were separated from their families between 1941 and 1967.

And then you have the 150 years-long boarding-school era, often run by churches, that stripped Native children of their language, religion and culture.

Brackeen v. Haaland is also making a state’s rights argument, which is the second part of the argument in this case: to prevent a tribal casino from opening in Arizona; in other words, to steal Indigenous people’s ability to fund themselves.

Who’s behind the steal?

— Goldwater Institute, a conservative think tank in Arizona.

The Cato Institute, for and paid for by the fossil fuel industry.

— Texas Public Policy Foundation, for and paid for by the fossil fuel industry.

— Project on Fair Representation, for and paid for by the fossil fuel industry.

The fossil fuel industry has a track record of supporting cases that threaten tribal sovereignty.

— Clint Bolick, who led Goldwater’s litigation strategy before becoming a justice for the Arizona Supreme Court. Bolick has made a name for himself arguing discrimination in cases ranging from voting rights to school integration to affirmative action. The New York Times once referred to Bolick as the “political right’s point man on race.”

— Gibson Dunn, known for representing Chevron in the decade-long lawsuit brought by indigenous communities in Ecuador, as well as the corporation behind the Dakota Access Pipeline.

— Matthew McGill, representing Brackeen and the state’s rights argument -to prevent a tribal casino from opening in Arizona.

— The Bradley Foundation out of Wisconsin.

— Texas federal Judge Reed O’Connor, who has a long history of siding with Republican attorneys general filing ideological lawsuits in cases that make their way to the Supreme Court.

Diane Daiute

Sweet Home