Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Challenges. Discussion »
TAHLEQUAH, OKLAHOMA The custody battle for Veronica Brown brought both the Cherokee biological father, Dusten Brown and his wife, Robin, and the non-Native South Carolina couple to two different courthouses on Friday.
Both Dusten and Veronica are tribal citizens of the Cherokee Nation, based in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.
The two couples spent about three hours at the Cherokee County District Court, where a mediation agreement was filed. The details of the court proceedings are not known because the presiding judge issued a gag order on what occurred inside the courtroom and ordered all court documents sealed. Media was not allowed inside the courthouse.
Even though the district court had ordered Veronica to brought to the court at the 9:00 am hearing, Cherokee Nation tribal officials disclosed after the hearing she was not present in the courthouse.
After leaving the district court, both couples journeyed a few blocks away to the Cherokee Nation Tribal Court where there was a guardianship hearing held. Again, the proceedings were closed to the media and no details are known at press time as to what occurred inside the courtroom.
Outside both courthouses, American Indian supporters were on hand to support the Brown family as they fight to keep custody of Veronica Brown, who turns four years old on September 15.
Native supporters held signs that read: "Culture Matters: Keep Veronica Home" and "Protect Native children like Veronica."
Principal Chief Bill John Baker issued the following statement Wednesday in response to the adoptive couple's arrival in Oklahoma and news conference:
“The Cherokee people throughout time have stood our ground and for the rights of our people, and this is no different. We will continue to stand by Dusten and his biological daughter, Veronica, and for what is right.”
The Cherokee Nation has been a supporter of the Brown family since Dusten Brown entered into his long legal battle to gain custody of Veronica in a case the went all the way to the US Supreme Court earlier this year.
American Indian supporters and others will meet outside the Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin's Tulsa office, located at 440 South Houston Avenue in downtown Tulsa today at 12 noon, central time. The rally is being organized by the Standing Our Ground for Veronica Brown group the runs a Facebook page with the same name.
posted August 17, 2013 6:00 am edt