FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 9, 2022

Press Contact: Teran Villa, tvilla@indianpueblo.org

We Must Protect Our Children

Portrait of Walatowa Headstart students engaging in Jemez Butterfly Dance. Courtesy of Pueblo of Jemez Department of Education AV Techs

(Albuquerque, NM) – A suspenseful day falls on the hearts and minds of Pueblo and Indigenous people across the United States, as the Supreme Court hears oral arguments in Haaland v. Brackeen, a constitutional challenge to the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). The All Pueblo Council of Governors (APCG), have long held that our children must stay with Native families and ICWA has served as the premier law to sustain that practice, after nearly one hundred years of forced removal of Indian children during the Federal Indian Boarding School era. A Supreme Court ruling on Brackeen, is expected in early 2023.

JOINT STATEMENT FROM OFFICERS OF APCG:

“We ask for prayers from all Indigenous and the American peoples to help ensure that throughout the Brackeen oral arguments, the hearts and minds of the nine Justices of the Supreme Court open to protect ICWA, so we can protect our children. Tears are brought to our eyes when we think of the tragedy our foremothers and forefathers endured during the Federal Indian Boarding School era. That period fundamentally sought to erase our cultures from the face of this earth. ICWA is needed to sustain tribal cultures and peoples.” 

JOINT STATEMENT FROM MEMBERS OF APCG YOUTH COMMITTEE:

 “As children, we were not able to speak for ourselves. We observed and listened to our mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers, aunts and uncles. We relied on them to protect us and to guide us on our path. Now, as young mothers, caretakers, students, in our early careers we have come a point in our lives that we are able to better understand the teachings of our ancestors. We speak our languages, participate in our traditions and we advocate for the protection of our cultures. As we transition into the next phase of our lives, we acknowledge and accept the challenges and responsibilities that come with it. Now, we too work to ensure our children are able to grow up with the care, happiness and safety they deserve.

We are qualified to provide support to our own children, to remind them and put into action the kinship we speak about, to call in the unique worldview to guide us as individuals and contributing community members. We must recognize that we are truly never alone in the world because we have extended relationships, clan relatives, and the bond we share as members of our community and as Native and Pueblo peoples. We are upholding our responsibility to show up and be present for one another. As the APCG Youth Committee we are using our voice to advocate for our little brothers, sisters, and siblings who are a priority to our community, and remind them and the world that they have a place in our lands, in our families, and in our hearts.”

Members of the APCG Youth Committee and their Pueblo affiliations include: Alysia Coriz, Kewa Kiera Toya, Jemez – Roslyn Coriz, Laguna & KewaCharlene Juanico, Acoma & Jemez & Zia – Kaitlin Sandoval, San Felipe & Kewa.

©2022 APCG All Pueblo Council of Governors

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