SAINT PAUL, Minn. - On Thursday March 9, the Minnesota House of Representatives passed the “Minnesota Indian Family Preservation Act” with a 128-0 vote. SF 667, authored by Representative Heather Keeler (DFL – Moorhead), codifies sections of MIFPA that were dependent on the federal Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) into Minnesota law and clarifies various terms undefined in ICWA.
The People of Color and Indigenous Caucus issued the following statement in support of the legislation:
“The POCI Caucus is glad to see the passage of the updates to the Minnesota Indian Family Preservation Act from the House last Thursday. We stand with our members in the Native American Legislative Caucus and applaud their leadership in bringing this forward to protect Indigenous children and ensure that they retain a connection their culture and their community. The intrusive act of forcibly removing children from their homes and cultural relationships interfere with a child’s ethnic identity and thus undermine tribal sovereignty and autonomy. This legislation is an important part of having honest, educational conversations about the experiences of Indigenous people and Tribal Nations. The erasure of Indigenous people and Tribal Nations isn’t only in our past; it is firmly in our present. Policies morph to maintain the status quo of division, displacement, oppression, and eradication. This nation and this state are forever in the debt of the Indigenous people and their nations that existed long before settlers came to this land. We are glad that this legislation will now become law and keep Indigenous children and families together to sustain the culture, language, and traditions of Indigenous people and Tribal Nations. We recognize the unique political status that our tribal communities are classified under, therefore it is extremely important to continue the work to protect tribal sovereignty.”
The POCI Caucus is comprised of; Rep. Esther Agbaje (59B), Rep. Jamie, Becker-Finn (40B), Rep. Ethan Cha (47B), Rep. Mary Frances Clardy (53A), Rep. Cedrick Frazier (43A), Rep. Aisha Gomez (62A), Rep. Hodan Hassan (62B), Kaohly Vang Her (64A), Rep. Athena Hollins (66B), Rep. Samakab Hussein (65A), Rep. Heather Keeler (04A), Rep. Alicia Kozlowski (08B), Rep. Fue Lee (59A), Rep. Liz Lee (67A), Rep. Mohamud Noor (60B), Rep. María Isa Pérez-Vega (65B), Rep. Ruth Richardson (52B), Rep. Samantha Sencer-Mura (63A), Rep. Samantha Vang (38B), and Rep. Jay Xiong (67B).
You can watch the floor debate and final vote here.