SANTA YSABEL, Calif. – Tekamuk Training and Events, a wholly-owned enterprise of the Mesa Grande Band of Mission Indians, has joined forces with Columbia Law School, the Native American Rights Fund (NARF), and the National American Indian Judges Association to present the Indian Child Welfare Summit, a major national conference on the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), December 7-9 in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Congress passed ICWA in 1978 in response to the alarmingly high number of Indian children being removed from their homes by public and private child protection agencies. The act seeks to keep American Indian children with Native families.

The three-day summit will provide up-to-the-minute updates on new ICWA regulations, and how current and recent court cases may be undermining the law's intent.  The agenda also includes sessions on traditional dispute resolution and family conferencing models as tools to help tribes protect the interests of Native children, families and communities.

Speakers and topics include:

· Brett Shelton, NARF attorney, on ICWA's origin and intent, case law affecting the implementation of the legislation, and new ICWA regulations;

· Cheryl Demmert Fairbanks, Cudy & McCarthy LLP, on how differing interpretations of ICWA can cause conflict between the various parties in child welfare cases;

·  Shaun Watts, Associate Director, Edson Queiroz Foundation Mediation Program, on alternative dispute resolution processes and family conferencing;

· Jo Ann Battiste, Peacemaker Judge, Native American Indian Court Judges Association, on implementing the traditional peacemaking process.

The conference will be held at the Intercontinental St. Paul Riverfront Hotel, a property of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. More information and registration links are available at