Minnesota Indian Family Preservation Act Signed Into Law

On March 17, 2023, the Minnesota Indian Family Preservation Act (MIFPA) — which supports the preservation of tribal identity of Indian children and recognizes tribes as appropriate entities to provide direction to the state as to the best interests of tribal children — was signed into law by Governor Walz.

In a time when the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) is under attack by the U.S. Supreme Court, this act serves as an added protection for native children in case ICWA is overturned.

MN350’s Missing & Murdered Indigenous Relatives (MMIR) Organizer and legal advocate Jessica Gidagaakoons Smith and our MMIR team advocate fiercely for the safety and well-being of native children who are at greater risk in foster care to be exploited and vulnerable to human trafficking and MMIWR.

“The foster care system is directly linked to MMIWR and we work to protect families fighting the system to keep their children safe and within community. As Indigenous people, our children have been historically taken from us in attempts to assimilate them away from their culture. These laws and protections are needed for our future generations. It is also extremely crucial for tribal leaders to step up for our children and fight for them so families do not have to do it on their own, which I have seen many times in my work.

Chi Miigwech to House author Representative Heather Keeler, Representative Jamie Becker-Finn, Representative Alicia Kozlowski and Senator Mary Kunesh for fighting for these protections.”

—Jessica Gidagaakoons Smith, MMIR Organizer

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