NCC stepped up to help start ICWA

Special to the Times | Colleen Keane
Annie Kahn, an outreach coordinator for the Navajo Child Care Standards Project, listens as parents speak out at a 1979-1980 children’s conference.

ALBUQUERQUE

Special to the Times | Colleen Keane
As Navajo Nation President Russell Begay applauds, members of the Navajo Nation Women’s Commission congratulate Nancy Evans on being inducted into the 2017 Hall of Fame.

Councilwoman Annie Wauneka sat at the head of the table.

Nancy Evans, director of BIA Area social services, sat at the table with her, along with social and health workers Ernest Benally, Ella Shirley, Peggy Nelson, Virginia Nez, Deborah Swaim and Eloise DeGroat.

It was June 13, 1979, the first day of a two-day gathering in Farmington to discuss concerns about hundreds of Navajo children in foster and adoptive homes off tribal lands, cut off from their families, culture and language.

By 1978, one-third of all American Indian and Alaska Native children were missing from their communities mostly caught in county and state social service systems and private religious placements.

About eight months earlier, in November 1978, the Indian Child Welfare Act (Public Law 95-608) passed basically outlawing the practice of non-Indian foster and adoptive placements and setting up a process to transfer Indian child welfare cases to tribal courts.

Diné children were coming home and Navajo Community College, now known as Diné College, played a part in implementing the law that made it happen.

Special to the Times | Colleen Keane
Dean Jackson, president of Navajo Community College, talks about the goals of the standards project in his office on the Tsaile, Ariz., campus.


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Categories: Education