A roundup of news and announcements we don’t want to get lost in the fast-churning news cycle!
curated by Vee Hua 華婷婷
✨Gleaming This Week✨
Supreme Court Affirms Constitutionality of Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA)
Indigenous activists and allies celebrated the highly anticipated 7-2 Supreme Court vote which ruled for the constitutionality of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). The Supreme Court began hearing oral arguments in November 2022 in the case Brackeen v. Haaland, which challenged ICWA.
ICWA was passed by Congress in 1978, in response to a period when “approximately 75–80 % of Indian families living on reservations lost at least one child to the foster care system.” It also followed the boarding school era, when Native children were forcibly removed from their homes and sent away to schools which have been proven to cause long-standing traumas due to verbal, physical, and sexual abuse as well as a prolonged lack of access to their culture and communities.
According to IllumiNative and thoroughly explored in the second season of the podcast This Land, the plaintiffs, the Brackeens, are represented by Gibson Dunn, which is a law firm that is experienced in representing oil and gas companies. The framework upheld by ICWA “is the same federal framework that recognizes the inherent right of Tribal Nations to protect their sacred sites, burial grounds, and drinking water … if the Supreme Court accepts Gibson Dunn’s invitation to chip away at Tribal sovereignty, oil and gas companies will have a clearer path to extract fossil fuels on Tribal lands without the consent of Tribal Nations.”
While those opposing ICWA believe the law to be against “federal authority, infringes state sovereignty, and discriminates on the basis of race,” Native nations are in fact a status of protected political class due to their sovereignty as tribal nations. Their differentiation as a protected political class dictates that any laws which prioritize the placement of Native children in Native homes over non-Native homes is constitutional, according to the Supreme Court’s latest ruling.
As reported by ICT, formerly Indian Country Today, the majority opinion of the Supreme Court was authored by Justice Amy Coney Barrett and reaffirmed Congress’ ability to make such policies. “The United States, joined by several Indian Tribes, defends the law. But the bottom line is that we reject all of petitioners’ challenges to the statute, some on the merits and others for lack of standing,” read the opinion.
Justice Neil Gorsuch, who is known to have extensive experience in Indian Country, also released a statement. He stated, “Our Constitution reserves for the Tribes a place — an enduring place — in the structure of American life. It promises them sovereignty for as long as they wish to keep it. And it secures that promise by divesting States of authority over Indian affairs and by giving the federal government certain significant (but limited and enumerated) powers aimed at building a lasting peace. In adopting the Indian Child Welfare Act, Congress exercised that lawful authority to secure the right of Indian parents to raise their families as they please; the right of Indian children to grow in their culture; and the right of Indian communities to resist fading into the twilight of history. All of that is in keeping with the Constitution’s original design.”
The two dissenting opinions came from Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito.
Another opinion affecting Native nationhood was also issued by the Supreme Court regarding the case Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians v. Coughlin, in which ICT reported “that tribes are like any other state or government and cannot use sovereign immunity in Bankruptcy Court.”
Vigil and March for Killed Belltown Restaurant Owner Demand Better Safety Policies From City
by Maile Anderson
Grieving and angry people gathered at the corner of 4th Avenue and Lenora Street on Saturday, June 17, 2023, to place flowers and cards where Eina Kwon and her husband, Sung, were shot Tuesday, June 13, 2023. Sung Kwon survived the attack and was later discharged from the hospital but Eina, 32 weeks pregnant, died shortly after the shooting. Her soon-to-be born baby also did not survive.
The crowd held a moment of silence before marching to the restaurant the couple owned, Aburiya Bento House, on Western Avenue near Pike Place Market. Participants called on City Councilmembers to do more to make the city safe for Asians and for all citizens, deemanding that those who have power and influence in the city to strengthen police and anti-gun efforts or step down from office.
In front of Aburiya Bento House, another memorial was created with more cards, photos, and signs of sadness, anger, and remembrance.
Reporting by The Seattle Times stated, “Court documents say a man approached and fired into the couple’s car while they were stopped on Fourth Avenue in the left turn lane to Lenora Street … Shortly after the shooting, police found a suspect who matched witnesses’ descriptions. When officers approached the man, he raised his arms and said, ‘I did it, I did it,’ according to police.”
Speakers and messages left at both sites acknowledged the randomness but emphasized that this fuels the familiar tracked narrative of Black on Asian crime. The clear messages from Saturday’s rally were centered on the need for stricter gun laws, outrage that the shooter had a record of violence and yet was still able to have a gun in his possession, and the growing lack of safety in the city. The marchers who attended the rally communicated their demands for changes in policy from the Seattle City Council to protect people and neighborhoods while mourning the loss of Kian and her unborn child.
Teen Shot and Killed at Bus Stop in Tukwila
Following a suspected altercation, a 17-year-old was shot and killed at a bus stop in front of Foster High School in Tukwila.
Police do not believe that the incident was random. The Seattle Times reported that it is unclear whether a suspect had been identified and that requests for comment were not returned.
Our content is funded in part by advertisements. To inquire about advertising with the Emerald, check out our media kit and fill out our application for more info.
📸 Featured Image: A photo of Eina (middle) and Sung Kwon surrounded by flowers and signs of anger and sorrow. (Photo: Maile Anderson)
The South Seattle Emerald website contains information and content supplied by third parties and community members. Information contained herein regarding any specific person, commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the South Seattle Emerald, its directors, editors, or staff members.
Before you move on to the next story … The South Seattle Emerald is brought to you by Rainmakers. Rainmakers give recurring gifts at any amount. With over 1,000 Rainmakers, the Emerald is truly community-driven local media. Help us keep BIPOC-led media free and accessible. If just half of our readers signed up to give $6 a month, we wouldn't have to fundraise for the rest of the year. Small amounts make a difference. We cannot do this work without you. Become a Rainmaker today!