Imprint Author

Nancy Marie Spears

Nancy Marie Spears works nationally covering Indigenous children and families with a focus on the Indian Child Welfare Act. She is an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma.

Winnebago Tribe Sues the Army Over Native Children’s Remains in an Indian Boarding School Cemetery

5/16/2024

Winnebago Tribe Sues the Army Over Native Children’s Remains in an Indian Boarding School Cemetery

The Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska is invoking a federal law to protect Native American graves and remains to sue the U.S. Army.

A Bill in California Calls for Quicker Action by Caseworkers When Foster Kids Go Missing

4/9/2024

A Bill in California Calls for Quicker Action by Caseworkers When Foster Kids Go Missing

A bill moving through the California Legislature takes aim at the problem of youth missing from foster care — and focuses on tribal children.

3/7/2024

How An Indigenous Attorney In Minnesota Keeps Trying to Overturn the Indian Child Welfare Act 

Mark Fiddler has focused much of the past decade on attempts to dismantle the law that aims to preserve Indigenous families and tribes.

ICWA Faces Another Constitutional Challenge in Minnesota

3/6/2024

Indian Child Welfare Act Faces Another Constitutional Challenge in Minnesota

A case before the Minnesota Court of Appeals revives a challenge to the Indian Child Welfare Act, as well as a local version of the law. 

ribal Child Support Collections

2/12/2024

For the First Time, Feds Will Fully Fund Tribal Child Support Collections

Under a new rule released by the Biden administration, tribes will no longer share the costs of child support collections.

Federal Government Set to Release its Next Report on Indian Boarding School Survivors

12/13/2023

Federal Government Preparing its Next Report on Indian Boarding Schools

The Department of the Interior will soon release its historic final report on the devastation caused by U.S.-backed Indian boarding schools.

11/2/2023

From Pain to Politicking

In part three of the series Born of History, Andres “Dre” Thornock embarks on a political path that leads them back to the Tulalip reservation.

11/1/2023

Reconnection and Reconciliation, Seeking a Way Back

In part two of the series Born of History: A Tulalip Youth’s Journey to Indigenize Child Welfare, Andres “Dre” Thornock leaves tribal land.

10/31/2023

Born of History

Part one in the three-part series Born of History, about one youth’s journey through a tribal foster care system and into a life of advocacy. 

9/5/2023

Report Documents the Critical Elements of Protecting Alaska Native Children — Connections to Culture and the Environment

New research highlights an issue vital to the well-being of Indigenous children and families: their stewardship of the natural environment. 

8/9/2023

Supreme Court Upheld ICWA, But Challenges Could Loom in State Courts

Although the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 7-2 to uphold the Indian Child Welfare Act, state courts have still fielded challenges to the law.

7/12/2023

Indigenous Human Remains, Mostly Boarding School Children, Reported In 3 States This Week

Indigenous communities in three states are mourning the discovery of human remains this week, many of them children at boarding schools.

6/21/2023

‘A Place of Calm:’ Indian Child Welfare Expert Unpacks the Historic Brackeen v. Haaland Decision

The Imprint's Q+A with Shannon Smith of the ICWA Law Center on the implications of the Supreme Court's important ruling.

6/15/2023

Indian Child Welfare Act Stands, Native Families Empowered

The federal law designed to maintain bonds between Native children and their families and tribes has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

6/8/2023

New Archive Sheds Light on Indian Boarding Schools Run by the Catholic Church

A long-awaited online archive, put together by Native researchers, may help boarding school survivors find answers.

5/24/2023

Protecting Children and Healing Families, One Native Auntie at a Time

The My Two Aunties program helps keep Native children out of foster care and ensure families remain safe and intact.

5/12/2023

Congress Considers Increased Funding for Tribal Child Welfare and Court Systems

A bipartisan bill would increase funds for tribal courts and child welfare systems and ease administrative burdens to access family resources.  

5/2/2023

Northern California County’s Child Welfare System Again Called out by Civil Grand Jury

A civil grand jury found that Humboldt County's child welfare system creates “an unnecessary amount of stress” families

4/3/2023

Indigenous Parents’ Vision for Baby Boards in Iowa Foster Homes 

Jess Ahūgišįnįwįga Lopez-Walker not only makes traditional baby boards, she's pushing for their acceptance in the foster care system.

3/22/2023

Northern California Tribe Alleges California Unfairly Denied Extended Foster Care Benefits to its Youth

A new lawsuit accuses a Northern California county of unfairly denying Native American youth access to extended foster care benefits.

3/2/2023

Indian Child Welfare Act Think Tank to Strategize Legal Protections for Tribal Sovereignty

A new think tank has formed to protect tribal sovereignty in light of a looming Supreme Court ruling affecting Indigenous children.

1/12/2023

An Indigenous Adoptee Reclaims Her Culture

Sandy White Hawk and her book cover featuring art by her daughter, Dyani White Hawk Polk. Photos provided.
For years, Sandy White Hawk has been invited to bring the Wabléniča Ceremony to Indigenous communities around the country, welcoming home fellow adoptees taken through adoption and foster care.

Texas flag

11/29/2022

Texas Governor Announces New Leadership for Family and Protective Services

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott yesterday announced the newest appointments to leadership in the state's Department of Family and Protective Services.

Nicole Alkire Grady: Research Shows Tribal Colleges, Universities Twice As Likely To Provide Child Care on Campus

11/29/2022

Research Shows Tribal Universities Twice As Likely To Provide Child Care on Campus

New research shows that tribal colleges and universities are far more likely than mainstream schools to support students with on-site child care.

11/17/2022

Child Welfare Advocates Say New Mexico Falling Short on Court-ordered Reforms

A report on the progress New Mexico has made on fulfilling commitments to better care for foster youth has found the state falling short.

In Prayer and Protest, People of Indian Country Gather Outside the Supreme Court to Defend the Indian Child Welfare Act

11/9/2022

In Prayer and Protest, People of Indian Country Gather Outside the Supreme Court to Defend the Indian Child Welfare Act

Demonstrators gathered at the Supreme Court today to voice support for the Indian Child Welfare Act as the 44-year-old law is challenged.

10/31/2022

The Fate of Indian Child Welfare Before the Supreme Court: Race, Commerce and Commandeering

What you need to know to follow the arguments in next week's Supreme Court case over the fate of the Indian Child Welfare Act

A Minnesota child custody case that began at the Hennepin County Juvenile Justice Center Reaches the Supreme Court

10/20/2022

How a Chippewa Grandmother’s Adoption Fight Ended Up in the U.S. Supreme Court

An untold story behind the Supreme Court case challenging the constitutionality of the Indian Child Welfare Act.

Tribal Leaders Vow to Protect Native Families from Separation as Indian Child Welfare Law Heads to the Supreme Court

10/17/2022

Tribal Leaders Vow to Protect Their Families from Separation as Indian Child Welfare Law Heads to the Supreme Court

Tribal leaders emphasize the importance of the Indian Child Welfare Act ahead of oral arguments before the Supreme Court.

First-of-its-kind Survey Examines Trauma and Healing Among Indigenous Survivors of Family Separation

8/29/2022

First-of-its-kind Survey Examines Trauma and Healing Among Indigenous Survivors of Family Separation

Researchers in Minnesota are collaborating on a survey of Indigenous survivors of family separation to document the abuse and participants' ways of coping.

8/15/2022

Alaska State Law Codifies Child Welfare Protections for Indigenous Families

A new state law that took effect August 5 in Alaska aims to “address and improve deep structural inequities” in the state’s child welfare system — protecting residents should broader federal protections be overturned by a pending Supreme Court case.

Tribal Leaders Vow to Protect Native Families from Separation as Indian Child Welfare Law Heads to the Supreme Court

8/4/2022

Supreme Court Set to Consider Fate Of Indian Child Welfare Act in November

The Supreme Court will begin to hear oral arguments in a case that challenges the federal Indian Child Welfare Act in November.

New Homes in Southern California Will Keep Siblings in Foster Care Together

7/20/2022

New Homes in Southern California Will Keep Siblings in Foster Care Together

The city of Palmdale, California is moving forward on a housing project that keeps siblings in foster care housed together.

The Past and Present of Indigenous Child Welfare

7/9/2022

Historic ‘Healing Tour’ Launched in Oklahoma Honors Survivors of Indian Boarding Schools

At a southern Oklahoma gymnasium, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland kicked off her "Road to Healing" tour, hearing from survivors of America's Indian boarding schools.

Youth Services Insider
Legislation Enacting Boarding Schools Truth and Healing Commission Advances

6/21/2022

Legislation Enacting Boarding Schools Truth and Healing Commission Advances

A bill that would establish a formal Truth and Healing Commission for Indian boarding school survivors was given preliminary approval by a House committee last week.

With ICWA Under Threat, More States Shore Up Laws to Protect Native Families from Foster Care Separation

4/6/2022

With ICWA Under Threat, More States Shore Up Laws to Protect Native Families from Foster Care Separation

With the Indian Child Welfare Act facing a Supreme Court challenge, states have enacted their own versions to protect Indigenous families from separation.

1/25/2022

Will Supreme Court Hear Challenge to Bedrock Law on Native American Families?

As the Canadian government pays out billions of dollars in reparations to Indigenous families torn apart by foster care, a case up for consideration by the U.S. Supreme Court threatens to strip legal protections from U.S.-born Native American children, families and tribal communities. 

U.S. Boarding Schools for Native Americans

12/22/2021

Haaland’s Bold Initiative to Revisit the Tortuous Past of U.S. Boarding Schools for Native Americans, and Alumni Reflections

In June, Interior Department Secretary Deb Haaland ordered a long-overdue investigation into the thousands of Indigenous children the U.S. government sent to boarding schools over the course of a century.