Members of Senate POCI Caucus Celebrate Passage of Bill to Protect Native American Families

ST. PAUL, Minn. — In a victory for Native children and families, the Senate passed legislation Monday to strengthen the Minnesota Indian Family Protection Act (MIFPA) and codify its statutes — some of which were dependent on the federal Indian Child Welfare Act — into Minnesota legal code as a standalone law. The bill, SF 667, passed 66-1.

In response to passage of the bills, members of the Senate People of Color and Indigenous (POCI) Caucus released the following statements:

“The Members of the Senate POCI Caucus are making Minnesota a place that protects Native American families and respects tribal sovereignty. Today we voted ‘YES’ on SF 667 to codify MIFPA into Minnesota law and help tribes, counties, and state agencies better serve Native families and prevent harmful family separations. The U.S. and Minnesota have long histories of using family separations — through boarding schools, adoptions, and other legal interventions — as a tool for genocide against Native nations. This bill moves us one more step toward a world where Native families are kept whole and respected by all state entities,” said Senate POCI Caucus Chair and chief author of SF 667 Senator Mary Kunesh (DFL-New Brighton).

“I am overjoyed that Minnesota Indian Family Preservation Act passed in the Senate,” said Senator Clare Oumou Verbeten (DFL-St. Paul). “As we know, Indigenous and Black children are disproportionately removed from their homes. By passing this important legislation, we are improving the lives of Minnesotans by keeping families together.”

The members of the Senate POCI Caucus are Senator Mary Kunesh (Chair), Senator Bobby Joe Champion, Senator Omar Fateh, Senator Foung Hawj, Senator Alice Mann, Senator Erin Maye Quade, Senator Zaynab Mohamed, Senator Clare Oumou Verbeten, Senator Susan Pha, and Senator Tou Xiong. 


The People of Color and Indigenous Caucus is compromised of both House and Senate Legislators.
Mary K. Kunesh represents Senate District 39, which covers the communities of St. Anthony Village, New Brighton, Hilltop, Columbia Heights, Fridley, and a portion of Spring Lake Park.

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Senator Clare Oumou Verbeten represents Senate District 66 which includes Falcon Height, Lauderdale, Roseville, and St. Paul. She is vice chair of the Judiciary and Public Safety Committee, and serves on the Education Finance Committee, Higher Education Committee, and the Labor Committee.

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