Linda Sacks in Native Challenges. Discussion »
TULSA, OKLAHOMA Outside of Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin's office in Tulsa, on Saturday afternoon, some 50 supporters for Dusten and Veronica Brown met with others in a crowd that included child welfare workers, single fathers, and children showing their support.
The rally consisted of family, friends, and supporters from across the country. Many carried signs reading "Fathers Have Rights Too" and "Stop Exploiting Veronica " as they walked up and down the road side chanting "Standing Our Ground for Veronica Brown."
“People are missing the parental rights issue. Dad's should have a say,”
said Larry Shufeldt, a friend and supporter of Dusten and Veronica.
Shufeldt and his wife fostered five children and expressed his empathy for both sides.
“It is hard to give them up when it is time for them to go. But it is not about provision: who can provide what; it is about doing the right thing. Children belong with the biological parents,”
Shufeldt along with many others believe the state has a position it should have upheld in the adoption process and the state is failing its citizens.
Supporters are convinced if the Indian Child Welfare Act, most commonly referred to as ICWA, played a part in the adoption process at all, Veronica would be with family right now in Oklahoma and this would not be an issue. Cherokee Nation citizens believe it is not a fight for one Cherokee child but a fight for all native children not just in Oklahoma but across the nation.
“We are not fighting for one Cherokee Child we are fighting for all children,”
said Lorraine Sacks, a member of Cherokee Nation.
“There are too many children that don't have anyone to fight for them and here is a biological father doing just that and no one seems to respect it.”
A member of Muscogee Creek Nation, Johnnie Diacon relates all too well,
"I know what it is like to be adopted. I am learning things now that I should have learned as a child about my culture. Fortunately, I was adopted by another native, I had a Cherokee Father who taught me what Creek words he knew but it never filled the gap and loss of my culture. I don't want Veronica to go through that kind of suffering and loss."
Many supporters feel it is not only about native rights but about human rights and the right to keep a biological family intact even if the family is native or even Cherokee.
“To the Cherokee's, a Cherokee child is the tribe's child and we will defend and protect our children. And that is exactly what we are doing even if Oklahoma doesn't,”
“We are standing our ground for Veronica Brown.”
posted August 19, 2013 6:50 am edt