ICWA Court Collaborative Brings 4 ICWA Courts Together
Pueblo of Santa Ana (Tamaya, New Mexico) – The ICWA Court Collaborative met in-person on November 3rd-4th for the first time since pre-pandemic with over 30 representatives from four ICWA Courts: Los Angeles (CA) ICWA Court; Sacramento (CA) ICWA Court; Missoula (MT) ICWA Court; and Bernalillo (NM) ICWA Court.
ICWA Court Collaboratives aspire to make space for sharing of innovations/challenges, ways to measure ICWA Court impact, and develop strategies for paths forward towards ICWA compliance for Indigenous families with courtroom actors that are proximate to capturing the spirit of the “Gold Standard of Child Welfare.”
One of the highlights of the gathering was the Honorable Catherine Begaye, judge for the Bernalillo ICWA Court, closing the event with a personal story from her time as an attorney representing Indigenous youth and the importance of cultural humility in this work. She also shared how New Mexico recently passed the New Mexico Indian Family Protection Act, calling it the “platinum standard” for the state legal protections it provides for Indigenous families.
New Mexico joins 10 other states that have passed comprehensive “state ICWAs” to provide state legal protections to the federal ICWA. Other states are in the process of introducing state ICWAs in their upcoming 2023 state legislative sessions.
Sheldon Spotted Elk
Sr. Director, Judicial & National Engagement
Judicial & National Engage