PARTNERSHIP FOR NATIVE CHILDREN

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About the PNC

The Partnership for Native Children (PNC) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit started by a group of motivated women from across Indian Country who were increasingly concerned with the intense negative media coverage of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and accompanying legal cases. Primarily a group of working attorneys engaged with anti-ICWA litigation around the country, the PNC knows firsthand the children and families ICWA protects, and the devastating consequences of what happens when those families are torn apart.

What Do We Do?
PNC provides accurate information, support, and resources to the media, tribes, and the public regarding Native American children, families, and the laws that protect them from unnecessary breakup.
 
We build the capacity of tribal communities to tell their own stories and advocate for their own children in the media spotlight by providing training and resources, andcreating opportunities for Native people to be included in the national dialogue on ICWA and Native family preservation. We challenge the campaigns of disinformation targeting Native American families and tribes by reaching out to the media and connecting them with experts and families from within Indian Country. And we fight relentless anti-ICWA litigation by collaborating with tribes, families, and tribal organizations to ensure our public education efforts complement their litigation strategies. 

Why Now?
Emboldened by the Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl decision in 2013, an anti-ICWA coalition—led by the for-profit adoption industry, religious coalitions, and a conservative think tank—have teamed up to overturn ICWA. They have spent years bringing forth suit after suit in courts throughout the country, sometimes even using identical briefs in different forums, all in the attempt to have ICWA declared unconstitutional. With the recent Texas v Zinke decision, they have succeeded.

Accompanying these litigation efforts has been a public relations strategy aimed at fomenting hostility toward ICWA and its advocates. These campaigns of misinformation have used divisive, inflammatory public relations tactics to distract from the fact that Native tribes and people and a vast number of national child advocacy organizations and many others overwhelming support ICWA, holding it up as the "gold standard' after which state laws should be modeled.

Instead of acknowledging these facts, ICWA's opponents fund public relations campaigns that take advantage of the general public's lack of familiarity with federal Indian law and child welfare practice. By decrying "racism!", exploiting horrible tragedies within the child welfare system to suit their purpose, and proclaiming that they alone are "saving" Native children from what they claim are the nefarious interests of Native people and Indian tribes, their sensationalism has found traction with the media. PR pandering in stereotype-filled rhetoric set to inflame and divide the public has served anti-ICWA litigation well.  

The founders of PNC grew impatient and intolerant of how long this biased, one-sided narrative about ICWA had been allowed to go on unchecked. Bringing our collective experience together as ICWA attorneys and advocates, we have set forth to challenge the status quo.

PNC’s Goals
  1. Serve as an information hub, disseminating accessible information regarding tribal child welfare, the Indian Child Welfare Act, and current litigation
  2. Build tribes’ capacity to engage in effective and compelling public education, media relations, and communications activities tailored to their specific community’s needs
  3. Give the media accurate information and create lasting connections between journalists and Native experts and spokespeople
  4. Dispel misinformation regarding Native families, communities, and the law propagated by ICWA’s opponents