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Saturday, January 9, 2021

Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl #BabyVeronica

 

Baby V (Cherokee)

Fletcher and Fort’s Rewritten Opinion in Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl

Fletcher and Fort posted “Intimate Choice and Autonomy: Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl,” forthcoming in CRITICAL RACE JUDGMENTS (Cambridge Univ. Press, eds. Bennett Capers, Devon Carbado, Robin A. Lenhart, and Angela Onwuachi-Willig) (forthcoming 2021).

As if there was any doubt, we have reached the opposite outcome as the Supreme Court did back in 2013. A few excerpts:

This case is about a little girl (Baby Girl) who is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, like her father, grandparents, and a multitude of generations before her. American Indian tribal citizenship with a federally recognized tribe is a unique concept in American law. E.g., Santa Clara Pueblo v. Martinez, 436 U.S. 49, 55 (1978) (“[Indian tribes] have power to make their own substantive law in internal matters. . . .”). Tribal citizens are beneficiaries of the federal government’s trust relationship with Indian tribes, and the federal government has promised to tribal citizens for centuries to assist in the maintenance of tribal governments, cultures, and sovereignty. Worcester v. Georgia, 31 U.S. 515, 556 (1831) (“[The Cherokee treaty], thus explicitly recognizing the national character of the Cherokees, and their right of self government; thus guarantying their lands; assuming the duty of protection, and of course pledging the faith of the United States for that protection; has been frequently renewed, and is now in full force.”).

And:

The ethically dubious acts of the Petitioners in this case extends to this Court’s amici. Several amici invoked the racist dog whistle of referring to the Petitioners as the “only family” Baby Girl has ever known. E.g., Brief for Guardian Ad Litem, as Representative of Respondent Baby Girl, Supporting Reversal at 56 (“Indeed, it is hard to imagine what liberty interest is more important to a 27-month old child than maintaining the only family bonds she has ever known, absent a strong showing of necessity.”) (emphasis added); Brief of Amica Curiae Birth Mother in Support of Petitioners at 3 (“The decision below effectively negated Birth Mother’s decision to place Baby Girl with Adoptive Couple, and ripped Baby Girl from the only family she has ever known, in derogation of both Birth Mother’s and Baby Girl’s rights and expectations under state law.”) (emphasis added); Brief of Amici Curiae Bonnie and Shannon Hofer; Roger, Loreal, and Sierra Lauderbaugh; and Craig and Esther Adams in Support of Petitioners at 38 (“[T]he lower court took non-Indian Petitioners’ adopted Indian daughter from them – destroying the only family she has ever known.”) (emphasis added); Brief of Amici Curiae National Council for Adoption in Support of Petitioners at 13-14 (“ICWA is implemented in some cases to traumatize children by forcing them into completely unknown environments, traumatizing them by removal from the only family they’d ever felt a connection with and imposing the developmental delays that come with the traumatic removal from a secure attachment.”) (emphasis added).[1] It appears that for some of our amici, the “only family” that matters is the non-Indian Petitioners’ family. For these amici, the Indian family and other biological relatives are strangers and foreigners. The only pain and shame of removal and separation that matters is that of the non-Indian family. It is apparent the “only family” dog whistle is designed to distract our attention from the ever-present bias against Indian parents and relatives in the child welfare and adoption system. This we will not accept. As noted above, this Court long has been complicit in dehumanizing Indian people. In Professor Harris’ words, “[C]ourts established whiteness as a prerequisite to the exercise of enforceable property rights.” Harris, supra, at 1724. No longer. We additionally suspect that this form of advocacy implicates American Bar Association Rules of Professional Conduct 3.4 (Fairness to Opposing Party and Counsel), 3.5 (Impartiality & Decorum of the Tribunal), 4.4 (Respect for Rights of Third Persons), and 8.4 (Misconduct).


[1] One commentator even referred to the Cherokee family here, who descend from an Indigenous nation that has been present in this hemisphere since time immemorial, as “foreign.” Thomas Sowell, Indian Child Welfare Act does not protect kids, Denton Record-Chronicle, Feb. 1, 2018, at 6A (“This little girl is just the latest in a long line of Indian children who have been ripped out of the only family they have ever known and given to someone who is a stranger to them, often living on an Indian reservation that is foreign to them.”) (emphasis added).

**

Use the search word Baby Veronica to find our coverage and opinion on this blog...

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Moses Farrow "Allen" calls for adoption reform

There are numerous videos from Moses... his brother Thaddeus, also an adoptee, did commit suicide. Several children were adopted by the actress Mia Farrow. I have always wanted to hear from adoptees who are adopted by celebrities... here is our chance to listen...

Read Moses' first newspaper interview: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2020...

Where is my buffalo robe? #60sScoop

 As I see theft of Indigenous identity, I'm left to forge myself from scraps

When I see the cultural appropriation and identity theft of Indigenous people — the Latimer situation and others like it — it stirs something ancient in me, that resonates deep like the heartbeat of Mother Earth herself.

I was part of the Sixties Scoop. For those of you unfamiliar with that term, it refers to the tens of thousands of Indigenous children apprehended by the government to be assimilated and raised in non-Indigenous homes. In my case, the AIM (Adopt Indian and Métis) program of Saskatchewan from the 1960s and 1970s placed me permanently in a white family in small-town Saskatchewan.

I am part of the national Sixties Scoop settlement which seeks to compensate those wronged by the erasure of our cultural identity and birthright.

Now, five decades later, that loss echoes in all that I am and do. I make my home in Témiscaming, Quebec on the beautiful Ottawa River. I remain an activist on Indigenous issues, but the recent spotlight on Indigenous identity, race shifting and cultural appropriation tears at the core of me. I find myself sitting wondering, where is my buffalo robe?

The buffalo robe I speak of is my Indigenous identity (Plains Cree) and I am one of hundreds of thousands of Indigenous people displaced by centuries of Canadian government policy, left to forge my Indigenous self from scraps left by politicians, capitalism and exploitation. That's why these issues strike so deeply for Indigenous people.

My buffalo robe is my identity. It is my jingle dress on the pow wow trail. When I dance, the spirits move me and I dance without tiring, without shame and with great pride. Pow wow is a ceremony: flying ribbons, eagle feathers, all the colours of the rainbow moved by the resilience and humility of my people — a glimpse of that sacred buffalo robe on my shoulders.

I've never worn a buffalo robe. I imagine it must be warm, robust, loving, beautiful. I picture being able to wear it like I've been wearing it forever, like those hearty Cree who weathered the harshest winters of our Canada — long before mechanical things heaved their way across the landscape — traversing rivers, landscapes, herds of the wild ones, carving what we see today.

'If you're going to pose in that buffalo robe, well then. Pick up that glass of murky brown water deemed undrinkable that so many Indigenous people live with every day, too.' (Submitted by Crystal Semaganis)

I see you posing in a buffalo robe. Trailblazers, heroes and heroines, forging the Indigenous path for us to follow. Now, that sacred path is tainted.

Were they who they said they were? I see them in their finery, at film festivals, book signings, news articles, magazines, all while proclaiming an Indigenous identity not theirs.

This is trauma. Forging an identity is no light thing. It is resilience flowing in our veins, the whispers of thousands before us and those yet to come. This is what it means to be Indigenous. How can such a precious, sacred thing be taken from us now? Stolen buffalo robes!

I search for my buffalo robe. I feel exploited. We are living artifacts of the Indigenous nations across this country from shore to shore, and we fight to reclaim our language, culture and all things sacred. We search for connection! To have a settler reap such vast rewards wearing a buffalo robe that was meant for others, that's a hurt felt by so many.

Residential school survivors, Sixties Scoop survivors, fledgling talents in the entertainment industry and Indigenous people passed over by the deception of those in stolen buffalo robes, that's a hurt that won't go away anytime soon.

Please, look beyond the romantic ideals of dreamcatchers, inukshuks, mukluks and war bonnets and see everything. Not just the accolades and commodification of all things Indigenous (let's face it, there was much money to be gained by proclaiming to be Indigenous) – but really see.

If you're going to pose in that buffalo robe, well then. Pick up that glass of murky brown water deemed undrinkable that so many Indigenous people live with every day, too. Join us in the search for the missing, lament the loss of land, language, wild things, the trauma, the displacement, the crumbling abandoned schools. Take it all in — and not just the pretty stuff.

**Crystal Semaganis is an Indigenous activist living in Témiscaming, Que., with a focus on advocacy for the Sixties Scoop, residential school survivors and environmental issues. She is a mother of four, grandmother of one, an artist and a jingle dress dancer. She is on Twitter @Lil_Cree777, Instagram @seven_wolves and TikTok @sevenwolves1971.

That buffalo robe is a sacred thing. I say now, we are coming for our buffalo robes.

Reconciliation is not taking our buffalo robes – it's giving them back.

I wear a size, immortal.

Dedicated to my sister,

Cleo Semaganis-Nicotine

May 7, 1965 - Dec. 22, 1978


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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.

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