In Arizona, Small Tribe Watches Warily as Supreme Court Takes Up Native Adoption Law

Karin Brulliard - Washington Post

PASCUA YAQUI INDIAN RESERVATION, Ariz. — Victor Cortez was just 5 months old when he was brought here from California by a tribal social worker, who placed the baby in the care of a relative after his mother was jailed for drug trafficking. Today, 16 and soft-spoken, Victor is a rising star among the Pascua Yaquis’ traditional dancers and is still living with that guardian, the only mother he’s ever known.

Victor is also known as an “ICWA kid,” a label that includes a familiar acronym here — one that refers to a landmark Indian law whose fate is on the line at the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday. The Indian Child Welfare Act governs foster care and adoptions involving Native American children, prioritizing placing them with relatives, fellow tribal members or in other Native homes.