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Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Association applauds ICWA ruling

Frank Star Comes Out President- Oglala Sioux Tribe

RAPID CITY, SD – The Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Association, Inc. applauds the 7-2 United States Supreme Court ruling on Brackeen v. Haaland, announced today. (Thursday, June 15th, 2023). The GPTCA, who joined the amicus brief last year in support of ICWA, stands in solidarity with the sovereign Tribal Nations, tribal organizations, national organizations, and state and federal partners who fought against this attempted assault on tribal sovereignty. The tribal leaders of the Great Plains stand firmly to uphold the constitution and sovereignty of tribal nations against the thwarted attempt to revert to the policy days of legal and authorized removal of Indian children from their homes.
In writing the court’s majority opinion, Justice Amy Coney Barrett rejected all arguments against ICWA and upheld 200+ years of judicial precedent. The GPTCA also recognizes the concurring opinion authored by Justice Neil Gorsuch and joined by Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ketanji Brown Jackson that provides an unfiltered and candid narrative of the history of Indian policy in the United States. Justice Gorsuch’s honest and necessary retelling of history must be told and heard. The tragedy of past Indian policy in the U.S. is a part of this country’s history, learning from those dark policy chapters is vital to our path forward.
GPTCA Chairman and Oglala Sioux Tribal President Frank Star Comes Out acknowledges the significance of this ruling and its impact on keeping with historical precedent. “We must not forget the flawed policies that brought us to where we are today – effects of the boarding school and removal policy linger still here today. Make no mistake, they are connected,” said Star Comes Out.
Star Comes Out added that he is optimistic about moving forward and that there remains “a strong opening for cooperation and collaboration between state agencies and tribes.” Specifically, regarding Indian child welfare cases in South Dakota, “We can do a much better job working together. And we can start by sitting down and revisiting how ICWA is implemented here in this state.”
The Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Association, Inc. membership includes all nine (9) sovereign tribal nations that share borders with South Dakota. During the 2023 South Dakota Legislative session, all nine (9) tribes supported efforts to codify ICWA-related language into state law and backed the creation of a task force similar to the 2005 legislative commission. Despite the tribes’ unified efforts failing in the legislature, the GPTCA and its members remain committed to adopting policies that will guarantee compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act and protect Indian children in South Dakota.
CONTACT – A. Gay Kingman, Executive Director, GPTCA, Inc. at 605-484-3036 or email at

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