ONEIDA (NBC 26) — On Wednesday, Oneida tribal members and other native allies gathered together to discuss a hearing that took place in the Supreme Court.
The case challenges the constitutionality of the Indian Child Welfare Act.
A law that was enacted in 1978 to address the removal of native children from their homes in child custody cases after many had been previously sent to non-native adoptive families.
The case heard Wednesday is asking the top court to declare some portions of the law unconstitutional.
For many in the native community, the worry is the act could be rolled back or done away with altogether.
"If this Indian Child Welfare Act is repealed, it would immediately affect native people in the American Indian society at large. Not just in Wisconsin but the whole country,” said David Castillo.
Another man speaking at the event shared how he was put in the foster system at a young age, living with non-native families. He said that as a result, he lost everything, including his Menominee and Potawatomi identity.
"I didn't know what Menominee was, I didn't know was Potowatomi was. When I went to school with the Oneidas, I used to make up stories so I could fit in,” the speaker said.
The Indian Child Welfare Act was meant to address experiences like this.
A law he hopes stays in place.