Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Confusion About this Case

Confusion About This Story

First, the article quoted below has an obvious biass.  But Second, NPR did Not cover the story fully.

No mention was made of the father's service in Iraq, or the fact that he has, according to the story below from a Native website, been fighting for custody of his child for three years.

I don't know what is true, but this story makes NO mention of the father's termination of parental rights, as NPR did.  

The story below alleges that the child's mother told no one that her daughter, Veronica, had a Cherokee father.  NPR also made no mention of this.

I apologize for My mistake, this child is three, not two years old, and she is a girl, named Veronica.

By the time a child is three much of her/his personality is set.  Couldn't a custody arrangement be worked out where Veronica's father could visit whenever he wished and she might spend Summers in Oklahoma with her people?

I fully support the Indian Child Welfare Act.  But I also support the right of a child not to have her life ripped apart at age three.

In reviewing this act I hope the Supreme Court will uphold this law, but take into consider what is best for a single child and many more children who are caught in her situation.

 – The US Supreme Court announced on Friday its decision to review "Adoptive Couple
v. Baby Girl" may prove to become a test of the Indian Child Welfare Act that was
passed by Congress in 1978 due to the large number of American Indian children that
were removed from their homes.
Cherokee Baby Girl
Cherokee Baby Girl v. US Supreme Court
At issue is the custodial preference of a three-year old Cherokee girl who was illegally
adopted by a South Carolina couple at birth. According to court documents, the natural
mother, who is non-Native concealed the fact that the baby was American Indian.
The father, Dusten Brown, and the child's mother never married even they were engaged
prior to the birth of the child. The engagement was broken off and Brown was deployed
to Iraq where he earned a Bronze Medal. Brown is a tribal citizen of the Cherokee
Nation of Oklahoma.
For a span of time Brown was unaware his child was put up for adoption. It was discovered
that the adoption papers never disclosed Brown was a tribal citizen.
Upon his return from active duty, Brown went to court seeking custody of Veronica,
using the Indian Child Welfare Act. He won in court.
Last summer, the South Carolina Supreme Court upheld a lower court's decision that
granted custody to the Cherokee father in a 73 page decision.
The National Indian Child Welfare Association issued the following statement on Friday:
In response to the decision of the United States Supreme Court to review Adoptive
Couple v. Baby Girl:
Today the United States Supreme Court granted the petition for certiorari in the
v. Baby Girl case where a couple in South Carolina unlawfully attempted to adopt
an American Indian child, Veronica, in violation of the Indian Child Welfare Act
(ICWA). Veronica's loving father, Dusten Brown, is a decorated Iraq war veteran who
has been fighting for custody of his daughter since learning of the proposed adoption
while trying to honor his responsibilities to his country while in military service.
The questionable practice of placing American Indian and Alaska Native children away
from their extended families and communities persists today as illustrated by this
Today's decision only reaffirms the National Indian Child Welfare Association's commitment
to continue working with our partners and our broad coalition of supporters to demand
full compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act.
We are confident that as the United States Supreme Court delves more deeply into
this case they will uphold this important law and that Baby Veronica will remain
with her loving father and extended family in Oklahoma.
The US Supreme Court did not have hear to this case, but did so because of its national
implications according to Matthew Fletcher, director of the Indigenous Law and Policy
Center at Michigan State University College of Law.
“It didn't have to, but it decided that it's an important enough case with national
implications that it would review it. And since about 70 percent of cases it hears
it reverses, it stands to reason that most grants are made with an eye toward reversing
the lower court,”
commented Fletcher.
posted January 5, 2013 8:50 am est"

If you want to read a human version of this story (a story Like this, involving Indian Child Welfare Act) I recommend Barbara Kingsolver's book "The Bean Trees" followed by "Pigs in Heaven".

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