Native News Network Staff in Native Challenges. Discussion »
TAHLEQUAH, OKLAHOMA The Cherokee Nation issued a statement on Friday in reaction to the US Supreme Court's decision to hear a case involving the adoption of a Cherokee child to a non-Indian household.
Indian Child Welfare Act
“We are surprised that the United States Supreme Court has chosen to hear this case. The South Carolina Supreme Court completely addressed all aspects of the Indian Child Welfare Act, and we believe their decision was correct,”
said Cherokee Nation Attorney General Todd Hembree.
“This is a matter that is of utmost importance to all of Indian Country. Our children are our future, and the Cherokee Nation stands ready to defend the rights of Native American children to be raised in Native American homes.”
The statement goes on to reiterate the significance of the Indian Child Welfare Act:
"For 35 years, the Indian Child Welfare Act, a federal law passed in 1978, has protected the rights of Native American children to be kept with Native American homes. Several lower courts, most recently a July ruling in the South Carolina Supreme Court, have affirmed this law and the biological father's right to retain custody of his own child. The Indian Child Welfare Act was passed in response to an alarming number of Native American children being wrongfully removed from their tribes."
The case has gained national attention when CNN's Anderson Cooper highlighted it last year and when Dr. Phil had the adoptive parents as guests on the show. Both programs showed a clear lack of understanding of American Indian concerns as they relate to the disproportionate adoption of Native child to non-Natives.
The Indian Child Welfare Act sought to remedy the situation when it was enacted in 1978.
posted January 7, 2013 6:00 am est