The virtual Washington ICWA Court Summit was attended by over 230 people on October 25th. The event highlighted the importance of the voice of lived experience and hearing directly from Tribal ICWA Directors towards improving tribal collaboration. In addition to Judicial leadership to bring many tribal leaders, social workers, partners, attorneys to this event to envision improving outcomes for Indian children and families in Washington.
Honorable Raquel Montoya-Lewis (Pueblo of Isleta), Associate Justice on the Washington Supreme Court shared storytelling and the importance of the historical context to the ICWA and the Washington ICWA. And how we can use principles of empathy, cultural humility, and the spirit of reconciliation to our work with children and families.
“In Native American communities across the country, many families tell stories of family members they have lost to the systems of child welfare, adoption, boarding schools, and other institutions that separated Native children from their families and tribes. This history is a living part of tribal communities, with scars that stretch from the earliest days of this country to its most recent ones. There are virtually no other statutes more central to rectifying these wrongs than the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) or state statutes like ICWA’s Washington counterpart, (WICWA).”
— In the Matter of ZJG and MEGJ (2020)
Justice Raquel Montoya Lewis
Spokane County ICWA Court, presided over by Commissioner Michelle Ressa, is currently the one ICWA Court in the state.