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Saturday, June 2, 2012

Supreme Court won't hear case

archival photo
Supreme Court rejects adoption case involving Cherokee Nation
— The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday (May 21) declined to hear an unusual adoption case from Utah involving the Cherokee Nation and the question of when a person becomes an Indian.
Without comment, the high court let stand a decision by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that a child's natural mother could not regain her parental rights by claiming that the child she gave up for adoption was an Indian who was subject to the federal Indian Child Welfare Act.
The mother of the child terminated her parental rights in court the day after the child was born in 2007. However, a month after the adoption was finalized in 2008, the mother filed a federal court petition seeking to nullify her voluntary termination of parental rights because the Indian Child Welfare Act required a 10-day waiting period in cases involving American Indian children.
The Cherokee Nation intervened for the mother, arguing that because the child's ancestors could be traced to the original tribal rolls, the child was automatically given temporary tribal citizenship at birth and that the Indian Child Welfare Act prohibited the mother from terminating her parental rights within 10 days.
A federal judge agreed. But the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the question wasn't the Cherokee Nation's citizenship laws, but the federal law. The court said the law applied only to children eligible for tribal membership because their parent was a member and the child's mother was not a Cherokee citizen.
Utah attorney James B. Hanks, who represented the couple that adopted the child, said in an email response on Monday that the Supreme Court decision on Monday ended the case.
The Cherokee Nation declined comment on Monday.

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It's sad these news stories never mention the child as sacred or worthy of protection. It becomes the colonial mindset of who is Indian enough to be protected by federal law - which speaks volumes about court cases involving Indian children.... Trace


  1. Trace...Please forward your blog post to Indian Country Magazine. Tribes need to be put on notice that all expecting parents must be enrolled or their children will NOT have ICWA coverage.

  2. All expecting parents are indeed in danger if not on the rez and not on top on this - I will forward to ICT Media and hope they will post it!


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Indian Country is under attack. Native tribes and people are fighting hard for justice. There is need for legal assistance across Indian Country, and NARF is doing as much as we can. With your help, we have fought for 48 years and we continue to fight.

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where were you adopted?

where were you adopted?

To Veronica Brown

Veronica, we adult adoptees are thinking of you today and every day. We will be here when you need us. Your journey in the adopted life has begun, nothing can revoke that now, the damage cannot be undone. Be courageous, you have what no adoptee before you has had; a strong group of adult adoptees who know your story, who are behind you and will always be so.