SGA weekly brief: Nov. 4

The SGA on Friday supported the Indian Child Welfare Act, officially recognized a fraternity and approved a resolution for campus security


Northern Star File Photo

The Student Government Association is located in the Holmes Student Center ground floor in the OASIS space.

By Evan Mellon, News Reporter

DeKALB – The Student Government Association has approved a bill to formally voice support for the continuation of the Indian Child Welfare Act.

The federal government passed the ICWA in 1978 as a response to past issues with the US government separating Native children from their families and communities for unnecessary and unwarranted reasons stemming from prejudice toward the Native community, which often led to them being placed into environments that were abusive and antagonistic toward their cultural heritage, according to Indian Country Today.

These practices eventually led to of Native children being unconstitutionally separated from their families, according to Northern Illinois University Law Review.

Under the federal law, the act prioritizes the placement of Native children with other family members, a foster home or adopters that resemble their own cultural and racial background.

Haaland v. Brackeen, a case that alleges the ICWA is discriminatory against non-Native people, will be ruled on by the Supreme Court. The case’s hearing will begin Nov. 9 and will determine whether or not the ICWA  is unconstitutional.

SGA members who support the continuation of the ICWA believe it protects the wellbeing and cultural ties of Native children, preventing abuse like the type that native communities have faced in the past.

“This (ICWA being challenged) affects us because there are native students living on campus, so this would therefore affect them,” said Historian Allen Babcock, who co-authored the bill. “This would include current NIU native students who have younger siblings at risk, or if they were to go on and start a family of their own and have their own children. If ICWA is overturned, that would basically put an opportunity for history to repeat itself.”

NIU has a population of .06% Native students, according to NIU; however, Chicago, 66.7 miles from NIU’s campus, has the third largest urban population of Native Americans in the country, according to the American Indian Center of Chicago.

The amendment, passed at the beginning of the SGA meeting, does not have any direct effect on the university or the U.S. supreme court hearing, but is instead intended to signify the SGA’s formal support of the act and Native students at NIU.

SGA also gave official recognition to Phi Kappa Theta, a fraternity at NIU.

“The mission of Phi Kappa Theta is foster a brotherhood of exceptional men and guide them to become individuals who routinely display passion and dedication in their endeavors, always maintain integrity and humility, and show the ability to lead through influence,” according to the fraternity’s Huskie Hub page.

In addition, SGA approved a resolution to fully support the addition of security to Jack Arends Hall.

The legislation will not establish any specific or official security measures for the college of visual and performing arts and is intended primarily to display support from the SGA for such an action.

“This legislation is just to show that we support this addition that has been long overdue,” said Senator Edwin Perez-Hernandez, who authored the bill.

SGA meetings are open to the public and held weekly at NIU, with locations posted in the senate’s agendas. SGA minutes and intent to speak forms are available online.