Collectively, for decades, we have dedicated a significant amount of personal energy and dedication to advocating for the rights of children – children that are of Native American descent but that because of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) have suffered emotionally, physically and even spirituality due to this federal law. As founding members of the Coalition for the Protection of Indian Children and Families, we do not take lightly the situations that took place years ago on Indian reservations. It is understandable that Congress would want to address those issues. However, the application of ICWA has extended far beyond what Congress ever intended, and is harming countless children as a result. We have come together as a united group to advocate for amendments to ICWA and to lead the way to change.
Dr. William Allen
Dr. Allen began advocating for Indian children in 1989 when he learned about a Native American teenage girl that had been taken from her adoptive family and placed on her birth mother’s reservation without the girl’s consent and despite her pleas to stay with the only family she had ever known. Dr. Allen was chairperson for the United States Civil Rights Commission during at the time and traveled to visit with the girl to see first-hand how the law was being implemented. He has advocated for changes to ICWA ever since. Dr. Allen is an emeritus professor of political philosophy in the Department of Political Science at Michigan State University and a visiting senior scholar in the Matthew J. Ryan Center for the Study of Free Institutions and the Public Good at Villanova University. He also served previously on the National Council for the Humanities and as chairman. Dr. Allen was recently the Ann & Herbert W. Vaughan Visiting Fellow in the James Madison Program on American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University. He is an expert on liberal arts education, its history, importance and problems. He is also chairman and co-founder of Toward A Fair Michigan, whose mission was to further understanding of the equal opportunity issues involved in guaranteeing civil rights for all citizens, and to provide a civic forum for a fair and open exchange of views on the question of affirmative action.
Mr. Moore, the executive director and co-founder of the California-based nonprofit, Home Forever. He has long been an advocate for children in the foster system and for child welfare law reform. He and his wife have adopted six children from Los Angeles County foster care and he has spoken at numerous conferences and workshops all over the country, speaking primarily about adoption, foster care and the Indian Child Welfare Act. When his two sons were nearly removed from his home due to their Indian heritage, he was successful in protecting his children from being taken away, and since that time he has been a vocal advocate against the misuse of this federal law. In addition to his advocacy work and speaking opportunities, Mr. Moore has written extensively on the role of the church in adoption, foster care and orphan care ministry.
Mrs. Morris is a birth, adoptive and foster care mother of Native American children. Her husband, Roland Morris, was 100 percent member of the Leech Lake Band of Obijwe and together, before he died of cancer, they advocated for the rights of Indian children. They established the Christian Alliance for Indian Child Welfare to help advocate for and support families and children hurt by the federal law. Mrs. Morris has heard and personally witnessed countless stories of children being removed from safe, loving homes and been placed into dangerous situations because of ICWA. She has spent the past 15 years making sure policy-makers understand how ICWA preempts the Constitutional right of parents to make life choices for their children, for children of Indian heritage to associate freely, and for children of Indian heritage to enjoy equal protection.
Mrs. Munday is a lead organizer for the Save Veronica cause. It was her first-hand involvement with Veronica’s adoption case that motivated her, along with thousands of others, to stand up for Veronica’s rights – rights that many feel were completey ignored throughout Veronica’s custody battle. After witnessing how the child’s rights took a backseat to tribal rights, Mrs. Munday launched an online petition to request U.S. policy-makers amend ICWA. Through her involvement with the Save Veronica support efforts, she was contacted by other families hurt by the law. Together, with the other founding members, Mrs. Munday decided to begin actively advocating not only for Veronica but for all the other children and families suffering because of the misapplication of ICWA.