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Native American tribes got a big win in August when a federal court upheld the Indian Child Welfare Act, a pivotal 1978 law that requires states to prioritize placing Native children in foster or adoptive homes with Native families over non-Native families.

That’s because the plaintiffs in the case, a non-Native couple trying to adopt a Native child, are arguing that ICWA is race-based and violates the equal protection clause in the Constitution.

Surveys in 1969 and again in 1974 found that between 25 to 35% of all Indian children had been separated from their families.

As this lawsuit plays out in court, HuffPost sat down with a mix of ICWA experts, Native families who have benefited from the law, and non-Native people currently in court fighting to adopt Native children.

“It’s like the tribe is trying to stack the cards against us, and simply because we’re not Native American,” she said.

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