A Democratic Minnesota legislator said it is a form of “genocide” for “white Christians” to adopt Native American children.
“I’m sick of white Christians adopting our babies and rejoicing. It’s a really sad day when that happens. It means the genocide continues,” Rep. Heather Keeler, DFL-Moorhead, said on Facebook.
“If you care about our babies, advocate against the genocide! Help the actual issues impacting Indigenous parents, stop stealing our babies and changing their names under the impression that you are helping,” she continued.
She then ended her post with: “White saviors are the worst!”
Keeler is the lead author of a bill to incorporate provisions of the federal Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) into state law. The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling this spring on a case that challenges the constitutionality of ICWA, according to a House research summary.
Keeler’s bill seeks to modify the Minnesota Indian Family Preservation Act with provisions from ICWA.
According to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, ICWA recognizes “Tribal jurisdiction over decisions for their Indian children” in state child-custody proceedings. It also establishes “minimum federal standards for the removal of Indian children from their families.”
Rep. Alicia Kozlowski, a Democrat from Duluth and co-sponsor of Keeler’s bill, said the legislation would “codify ICWA into state law.”
“Throughout history, the United States and Minnesota have carried out intentional and horrific methods of removal and disconnection of our Native children from their families, their culture,” Kozlowski said during a recent hearing on the bill, HF 1071.
In Minnesota, “American Indian children are 16.4% more likely than white children to be placed out of home,” according to Kozlowski.
The bill would place the following language into state law: “The state of Minnesota recognizes all federally recognized Indian Tribes as having the inherent authority to determine their own jurisdiction for any and all Indian child custody or child placement proceedings regardless of whether the Tribe’s members are on or off the reservation and regardless of the procedural posture of the proceeding.”
“Raising our next generation and keeping them in our Indigenous families is essential to preserving our culture, language, traditions, and way of life,” Keeler said in a press release after the hearing.
“We need to protect our Indigenous families and the integrity of our relatives. Our next seven generations are sacred to our community, and taking them away and stripping them of their identity is a form of genocide. We cannot allow these atrocities to continue. We need to act now to ensure the next generation of our community stay within our tribal community. We must protect our family lineage and the existence of our tribal nations.”