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The best interest of the child is not a factor in ICWA.

The best interest of the tribal government is the true concern. They get more federal funds per head.

What needs to be discussed is the full ramifications of ICWA, not just the perspective of the tribal government. What has to be remembered is that when we allow tribal governments to determine their own membership criteria, we are treading on the individual rights of citizens all over the country. One father in Texas writes that he has spent tens of thousands of dollars fighting the tribe for custody of a little boy that is less than 2% tribal heritage.

I have received letters from non-tribal parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles from all over the country. One grandfather signed his name "former grandfather of..." Their family, having exhausted all financial resources, has given up hope.

Yes, it can be that bad. And it is these people that need attorney's willing to face the wrath of the tribal governments and stand up for children and families.

Why are children of heritage considered unworthy of the same protection afforded children of other heritages?

If being a tribal member is a political and not racial designation, as tribal leaders claim, than why is blood quantum an issue?

Denise Martineau

I am the guardian of my grandchildren who are eligible for tribal enrollment, their mother is a member of the tribe and their father is Hispanic. I am concerned that this ruling might mean that their mother who is not ready to assume responsibility for them, may have the right to simply demand them back. It appears that she can petition for termination of the full guardianship regardless of her circumstances. What happened to the best interests of the child?

Jeanne M Hannah

Doug, thank you so much for pointing out this very significant fact. Jeanne M. Hannah

Doug Dante

Please note that this ruling applies to fathers of Indian children as well as mothers of Indian children, even if they themselves are not tribe members, and possibly other relatives.

Michigan Court of Appeals says: "In a custody proceeding involving an Indian child, a state court must apply the minimum standards articulated in the ICWA" (tinyurl dot com slash 4bs7fx)

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