The Indian Childwelfare Act of 1978 was established to stop the wholesale removal of American Indian kids from their families and communities. Prior to its legislation, Indian children were placed and hidden behind closed adoptions, with no way to find our way back to our families, our tribes. We were forced to live in a social world that had a limited and mostly negative understanding of American Indian history, or about American Indians in general.
Our skin tells people our history is different. It has affected us differently and we know it from an entirely different perspective from those we live with, or live around. But adoption pretends like that doesn’t matter; that our history is your history, that your relatives are our relatives “as if by blood”. The key words are “as if.”
Indian people should have jurisdiction over what happens to our children. Euro-American colonizing interests have created the problems that adoption was used to address; we don’t need Euro-American solutions. Adoption was not about the children; it was about bringing American Indian tribes and Nations into line with the assimilation model by using the children.
If you want the American Indian perspective of the importance of that Act, watch this 18 minute video, titled Bringing Our Children Home