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Background and Need for ICWA

Historical Trauma Resources:

  • Discovering Our Story - Transcending Historical Trauma
    On WISDOM’s web pages, Native people learn more about historical trauma, its history, its effects, and most importantly, its treatment. This site, available at no cost to users, presents teachings designed to help re-establish respect and harmony throughout all generations of Native families and communities. These teachings integrate positive identity development with building healthy relationships, encouraging appropriate conduct and skills development, and the restoring of traditional cultural values back into our family relationships. It provides hope for those affected by historical trauma, not just Native people, but all peoples.
  • The Destruction of Indian Families
    The wholesale separation of Indian Children from their families is perhaps the most tragic and destructive aspect of American Indian life today. Surveys in states with large Indian populations conducted by the Association on American Indian Affairs (AAIA) in 1969 and again in 1974 indicate that approximately 25-35 percent of all Indian children separated from their families and placed in foster homes, adoptive homes, or institutions.
  • Historical Trauma and Parenting
    This January 25, 2013 document covers (1) Historical Trauma and Historical Unresolved Grief Definition and the Historical Trauma Response Features; (2) Collective Trauma History and Negative Boarding School Experiences' Impact upon Parenting; and (3) Incorporating Historical Trauma and Unresolved Grief Components in Parenting Interventions.
  • Historical Trauma Among the Native American Population: What Service Providers Need to Know
    This 2006 document was developed by the Indian Country Child Trauma Center where their mission is to develop culturally appropriate interventions and improve treatment and services for all children and adolescents in Indian Country who have experienced traumatic events.
  • Mindful and Careful Considerations of the Tribal IV-E Provisions
    This document is the PowerPoint slides that were presented by Judge William Thorne at the NRC4Tribes 2011 Fostering Connections Tribal Gathering in Minneapolis.

Other Resources:

  • Indian Child Welfare Act Facts & Fiction (Version 2, Updated: March 2014) - The Tribal Judicial Leadership Group, coordinated by the NCJFCJ and Casey Family Programs, and comprised of tribal and state court judges, identified the need to dispel common misconceptions and misunderstandings around the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). Included in this document are common misunderstandings, facts, recommended practices, and statutory references surrounding application, notice, membership, intervention, transfer, active efforts, best interests, qualified expert witnesses, and placement. This structure is meant to allow users to jump to issues of particular concern in their jurisdictions, but can also be reviewed as a whole. The goal of this publication is to improve compliance with ICWA and assist judges in fulfilling its mandates.


ICWA Compliance

Video from the December 2011 Lead Judges Meeting. For Closed Caption and Transcript simply press play or you can also go to: "The History and Spirit of ICWA"

The above video, “The History and Spirit of ICWA,” provides juvenile and family courts with historical context of Native Americans and child welfare.  The goals of this video is to provoke discussion and to further the court’s understanding of why it is critical to ask if there is any Native American heritage at every hearing even if you know the family history.


ICWA Educational Resource Video - "Bringing our Children Home: An Introduction to the Indian Child Welfare Act"

Bringing Our Children Home: An Introduction to the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) is a powerful video featuring voices of adoptees, foster alumni, judges, ICWA experts, and judicial educators giving insight into the importance of "why" we have the ICWA. It was designed to be a companion to the National ICWA Judicial Curriculum currently in development, a resource for state court judges and judicial educators  focusing on judicial leadership for system accountability and empowering collaboration on local and state levels to increase ICWA compliance.

The video is the culmination of the ongoing collaboration between the Mississippi Courts, Child Welfare Agency, and the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians in consultation with the National Resource Center on Legal and Judicial Issues and the National Resource Center for Tribes. The video was produced by Mad Genius, Inc., Ridgeland, Mississippi.

For Closed Caption and Transcript simply press play or go to:

Bringing our Children Home: An Introduction to the Indian Child Welfare Act

For more information contact:  Dennis Perkins, Mississippi Administrative Office of Courts:

See link to video:

Kevin Gover's Apology

In his role at the time as Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs Department of the Interior to Native Americans for the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) at the ceremony acknowledging the 175th anniversary of the establishment of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) on September 8, 2000.
(Text of Speech) (Link to Video:

For Closed Caption and Transcript simply press play or go to:

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This site contains links to other web sites that may be of interest to you. The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) / Children's Bureau (CB) does not endorse the views expressed or the facts presented on these sites. Their contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not represent the official views or policies of the Children's Bureau. Access to this information does not in any way constitute an endorsement by the Department of Health and Human Services. Furthermore, ACF/CB does not endorse any commercial products.