The Minnesota legislature is on track to pass a bill to modify the Minnesotan Indian Family Preservation Act.
The bill removes 150-year-old laws that remain from a period in Minnesota history that House Rep. Jessica Hansen (DFL) said caused “significant harm” and “generations of poverty.”
“The Indian Child Welfare Act was designed by congress as what many of us consider an apology act for the decades of harm that [have] happened to our communities through the boarding school era,” said House Rep. Heather Keeler (DFL).
Rep. Keeler said the bill incorporates federal Indian Child Welfare Act procedures and requirements into state law. Passed in 1978, the Indian Child Welfare Act is a federal law that gives Indigenous tribes exclusive jurisdiction over children who reside on reservations.
The Minnesotan Indian Family Preservation Act affirms the state’s commitment to Tribe-state relations. It also includes language recognizing that tribes have the authority over Native American child custody and child custody proceedings.
The bill was passed unanimously Friday in the House of Representatives; it’s set to be voted on in the Senate later this week.