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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Battle for Baby Veronica

Native America Calling: (feat. Kate Fort)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013 – The Battle for Baby Veronica (listen)
The United States Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl next week. The case could have long term effects on future adoptions of Native children. The child, a member of the Cherokee Nation, was given up for adoption by her non-Native mother without the consent of the father. At the heart of the Supreme Court case is the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), which regulates adoptions of Native children outside of their tribe. We're taking a closer look at this case and what it means for Native America. How might the outcome of the case impact families or tribes? What's the role of tribes in the adoption process? Guests include Chrissi Nimmo (Cherokee) Assistant Attorney General for the Cherokee Nation.
NOTE: I had a meeting so I missed this program. Click on the links and listen. Terry Cross from the National Indian Child Welfare Assoc. did call in - so glad he did.  What was said briefly: If the adoption lawyers had paid attention to the federal law called the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978, this case never would have happened, if lawyers had followed the law -- and Baby Veronica would have been placed with her father (or a member of his family since he was serving in the military at the time of her birth.) The natural mother in this case also didn't respect (or was ignorant about) existing federal law when she went to relinquish her newborn and chose adoptive parents.  Sovereign Tribal Nations have the right to control where their children are placed (via adoption) because of ICWA (and the history of removals of children) but some states and non-Indian lawyers do not respect or know ICWA.

I was thinking about what Veronica will think about this when she becomes an adult. If she is like me, she will be grateful that her father fought for her and gained custody. It's not that I don't understand how the adoptive parents are distraught and wish her back. They need to realize Baby Veronica is a member of a tribe by birth, and with existing ICWA law, she should be raised by a member of her birth family or tribe. Why ICWA is important: Every child is the future of a tribe.

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Takeaway Podcast ICWA

What our Nations are up against!

What our Nations are up against!
Survivors, write your stories. Write your parents stories. Write the elders stories. Do not be swayed by the colonizers to keep quiet. Tribal Nations have their own way of keeping stories alive.... Trace

Help in available!

Help in available!
1-844-7NATIVE (click photo)

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Diane Tells His Name

Please support NARF

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.

It is hard to understand the extent of the attacks on Indian Country. We are sending a short series of emails this month with a few examples of attacks that are happening across Indian Country and how we are standing firm for justice.

Today, we look at recent effort to undo laws put in place to protect Native American children and families. All children deserve to be raised by loving families and communities. In the 1970s, Congress realized that state agencies and courts were disproportionately removing American Indian and Alaska Native children from their families. Often these devastating removals were due to an inability or unwillingness to understand Native cultures, where family is defined broadly and raising children is a shared responsibility. To stop these destructive practices, Congress passed the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).

After forty years, ICWA has proven to be largely successful and many states have passed their own ICWAs. This success, however, is now being challenged by large, well-financed opponents who are actively and aggressively seeking to undermine ICWA’s protections for Native children. We are seeing lawsuits across the United States that challenge ICWA’s protections. NARF is working with partners to defend the rights of Native children and families.

Indian Country is under attack. We need you. Please join the ranks of Modern Day Warriors. Please donate today to help Native people protect their rights.

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.