The Necessity of the Indian Child Welfare Act

Leah Litman
The Necessity of the Indian Child Welfare Act

Congress today has substantial and sweeping powers over Native nations and Native people, including the authority to abolish tribes and tribal reservations, and to expand or restrict tribal authority. The Court reasoned that Natives’ “weakness and helplessness” gave the federal government “broad domain” over them; later cases pointed to Natives’ “condition of tutelage or dependency.” Those decisions gave Congress more power when it comes to Native affairs than it has when it comes to taxing or spending or regulating interstate commerce.