Reminder: Indian Child Welfare Event Hosted by the Center for Native American Youth on June 6th

The Center for Native American Youth
will host an event entitled “Indian
Child Welfare – Highlighting the Invisible”
on June 6 from 12:00-1:30 PM at
the Aspen Institute. The event, moderated by former US Senator Byron Dorgan, will feature a
dialogue between panelists about their personal perspectives on Indian child
welfare – namely the Indian
Child Welfare Act
. The panelists will include: Solicitor of the US Department
of the Interior, Hilary
; Treasurer of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, Robert McGhee;
and a Native American youth and intern at CNAY, Seanna Pieper-Jordan.


“The issue of Indian child welfare is of critical
importance to the future of the more than 550 Indian tribes in this country,”
said Senator Byron Dorgan, founder and chairman of the CNAY. “What is more
precious to a population than its children?”    

According to recent reports on the child
welfare system, state agencies remove American Indian and Alaska
Native (AI/AN) children at three times the rate of other children in the
welfare system. Additionally, these youth are more than twice as likely to be
sent to foster care as children of other races, even those in similar
circumstances. Further, an investigative report by NPR illustrated that, in
South Dakota, these removals often occur under questionable circumstances and
result in 90 percent of AI/AN children in foster care being placed in
non-Native homes.

In 1978, more than one-third of AI/AN children
were in foster care. That year, Congress passed a law, the Indian Child Welfare
Act, to address the long history of removal of these children from
their families and tribes. The law established a unique set of procedures to
ensure that Native children are placed with immediate or extended family
members, other tribal members, or in other Native American homes. 

Panelist Seanna Pieper-Jordan, alum of the foster care
system and member of the Blackfeet tribe of Montana, will share her perspective
on Indian child welfare. “I want to make sure the voice of the invisible—the
Native foster youth—is heard at a national level because child welfare isn’t
just about the system,” remarked Seanna. “It’s about families,
connections to culture, and love surrounding a child.” 

about the event can be found on the Aspen
Institute’s website
, including how to RSVP.
If you cannot attend the event in person you can watch it via live webcast


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