James George Abourezk (February 24, 1931 – February 24, 2023) was an American attorney and politician from South Dakota. A member of the Democratic Party, Abourezk served as a United States senator and United States representative for one term each, and was the first Arab American to serve in the U.S. Senate. He was also the founder of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.
He was the first Greek Orthodox Christian of Lebanese-Antiochite descent to serve in the U.S. Senate. He was generally viewed as critical of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle-East and North Africa (MENA) area, particularly regarding Palestine and Israel.
Abourezk represented South Dakota in the United States Senate from 1973 until 1979. He was the author of the Indian Child Welfare Act, passed by Congress in 1978 to try to preserve Native American families and tribal culture, by arranging for the placement of Nature American children in homes of their cultures, as well as to reunite them with families. It gives preference to tribal courts with custody of Native American children domiciled on reservations and concurrent but presumptive jurisdiction in cases of children outside the reservation.
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