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Saturday, June 2, 2012

Supreme Court won't hear case

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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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As the single largest unregulated industry in the United States, adoption is viewed as a benevolent action that results in the formation of “forever families.”
The truth is that it is a very lucrative business with a known sales pitch. With profits last estimated at over $1.44 billion dollars a year, mothers who consider adoption for their babies need to be very aware that all of this promotion clouds the facts and only though independent research can they get an accurate account of what life might be like for both them and their child after signing the adoption paperwork.


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Why tribes do not recommend the DNA swab

Rebecca Tallbear entitled: “DNA, Blood, and Racializing the Tribe”, bearing out what I only inferred:

Detailed discussion of the Bering Strait theory and other scientific theories about the population of the modern-day Americas is beyond the scope of this essay. However, it should be noted that Indian people have expressed suspicion that DNA analysis is a tool that scientists will use to support theories about the origins of tribal people that contradict tribal oral histories and origin stories. Perhaps more important,the alternative origin stories of scientists are seen as intending to weaken tribal land and other legal claims (and even diminish a history of colonialism?) that are supported in U.S. federal and tribal law. As genetic evidence has already been used to resolve land conflicts in Asian and Eastern European countries, this is not an unfounded fear.

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