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Tuesday, May 26, 2020

How Being Separated From My Family and Tribe Affected Me


By Jacqueline Davis, Activist          

Today the Supreme Court will hear Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, a case about a South Carolina Indian girl who the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled that the child must be returned to her Indian father. The child's mother ignored the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) of 1978, a federal law designed to protect Indian families from "abusive child welfare practices that resulted in the separation of large numbers of Indian children from their families and tribes through adoption or foster case placement" and, as a result, both the tribe and the father were denied their rights under ICWA.
As the Supreme Court hears this case, the coverage has been largely one-sided. I thought it was important for people to hear my story, and how being separated from my family and tribe has affected me.

My name is Jacqueline Davis. I am one of six siblings affected by a decision made by the state of South Carolina. I am a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe in South Dakota and my grandfather is Chief Dave Bald Eagle. My father, who is African-American, met my mom and married her while he was stationed in the Air Force. They eventually moved off the reservation to South Carolina. Their lives changed one day when my mother applied for WIC and the nurse realized that she spanked her children as a form of discipline. Their children were taken and placed in foster care. We were split in pairs. The charges were piled on, and our parents lost custody. The Bald Eagle family offered to take us on the reservation and for reasons I still don't know they were told our case had nothing to do with ICWA. I can remember my parents coming to visit us for years.

Read the rest here:
http://www.aclu.org/blog/racial-justice/how-being-separated-my-family-and-tribe-affected-me

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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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