Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Indian Child Welfare Act

Indian Child Welfare Act

According to the NPR report, if I understand correctly, it went like this.

A child was born to a Cherokee dad and a non-Native mom.  The couple was not married, the father was stationed at a military base and the mother dated him.  Both parents terminated their legal rights to free the child for adoption.

What Should have happened, according to the Indian Child Welfare Act passed in the 1970's, is this child should First have been offered to a Qualified Cherokee relative or a qualifying family of Cherokee people.  This is my understanding of the Indian Child Welfare Act, not what the NPR story said.

The father had been stationed in S. Carolina, according to the NPR story.  Qualla Boundary is a Cherokee Reservation in North Carolina. So did Anyone Look in Either S. or N. Carolina for a qualified Cherokee family to adopt this child?  Did anyone look in Oklahoma where more than twenty thousand Cherokee people still live?  Or was it a question of money?

In a story NPR ran Last year the Governor of South Dakota said the adoption of Native children by white families was an important source of income for his state.  How is this different than selling children?

The story I heard today concerned a  child who  was adopted by a non-Native couple and has lived with them for two years.

Now the case was said by NPR to be "about the Indian Child Welfare Act" as the Supreme Court hears a case in which the father is suing the adoptive couple for the child he gave away.

I think the case is about the Non-Enforcement of the Indian Child Welfare Act and I wish NPR would follow the money trail of the state burocracy in this case!

The last resort provided for in the Indian Child Welfare Act, as I understand it, is that a child shall be placed with a qualifying adoptive family of a different Native tribe.  So, there were no Cherokee,  Lummi(also called Catawba) , (a S. Carolina tribe)  Choctaw (in Mississippi) Chickasaw, or Muskhogee families qualified to adopt this child in either the South or Oklahoma?  Their were no qualified Seminole or Mikosukee families in Florida who would be qualified to adopt him?  I don't believe it.

This doesn't look like a case "about the Indian Child Welfare Act" to me.  It looks like a case of Non-Compliance with that act.

What a pit to put a two year-old in, lose your culture, language and syllabary as well as a differing way of understanding life, or loose the only parents you have ever known.

A white friend said to me that it was a "no brainer" the child shouldn't be subjected to the cruelty of removal from the only parents ever known.  While I need to look up the history of this case and I also think it would be a cruelty to take this child from his home, I don't think it's a "no brainer."

Has the father who gave up his child two years ago been suiing to have that child placed in a Native home ever since, Under the provisions of the Indian Child Welfare Act?  Does S. Carolina get Federal funds for adoption of a Native child to a non-Native family in the same state?  Why wasn't this law Complied with?  Would an out-of-state Native family adopting this child have meant a loss of revenue for S. Carolina?

What's Really going on, Besides poverty being mistaken for abuse or neglect and Native kids being given to non-Native families?


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