AP Photo/Tulsa World, James Gibbard
Dusten Brown relaxes with his daughter Veronica Brown, 3, at their home in Nowata, Oklahoma, taken on April 11, 2013.

Native American Rights Fund: Stop the Forced Removal of Baby Veronica

Suzette Brewer

Echoing the loud thunder of voices from Native communities and organizations across the U.S. and Canada in outcry over yesterday's decision to return Veronica Brown to South Carolina, the Native American Rights Fund yesterday issued the strongest statement yet in a call to action to join the fight in protecting the girl's right to be raised by her biological father, Dusten Brown.

“The Native American Rights Fund joins with the Brown family, the Cherokee Nation, the National Congress of American Indians, the National Indian Child Welfare Association, and many others inside and outside of Indian country who are expressing their outrage over the South Carolina Supreme Court's imprudent order effectively granting the adoption of Veronica without due process of law or a hearing to determine what is in her best interest,” said the statement from the country's oldest Native legal rights organization.

The Native American Rights Fund encourages all of the state attorneys general, adoption and child welfare organizations, past and present members of Congress, religious organizations, and others who submitted briefs in the case to express their concern and join with Indian country to take all necessary steps to stop the forced removal of this Indian child from her Indian father, her Indian family, and her Indian community.”

As rage over the decision began to take shape on Thursday, Native leaders, community members and legal experts were unanimous in their solidarity toward what they feel is a rubber stamp of approval from the court by taking Veronica from her home. In short, they feel that the Capobiancos “won ugly,” and have been rewarded by removing the child from a fit parent and a community in which she has thrived.

“This is Indian country's Trayvon Martin moment; we cannot pass on this,” said a Native legal scholar in Washington, D.C., who asked not to be identified because of the ongoing litigation. “The message is clear: They are continuing to take our land, they're taking our children, they're taking our identity and now the courts have endorsed this whole pattern of white settler mentality.

This man and his daughter have been denied due process all the way down and he did not even get a hearing to determine what's in his own daughter's best interest, which in itself represents the destruction of tribes. He needs to have a fair hearing and we in Indian country support him 100 percent in retaining a child that never should have been put up for adoption in the first place.”

National native organizations and tribes have begun gathering and collaborating in mobilizing support for a case that has struck at the heart of tribal existence perhaps more so than any time since the Termination Era of the 1950s. Advocates say that the course this case has taken has forced many in Indian country from the sidelines to take a public stand and who are willing to take to the streets, if necessary.

“They don't get it,” says A. Gay Kingman, executive director of the Great Plains Tribal Chairman's Association. “Who is thinking and representing the best interests of this child? Like many of our American Indian children in South Dakota, she is being removed from her birth father, her Indian family and her tribe. Shouldn't the child have due process?”

Whatever shape this case takes over the coming days, grassroots activism and legal mobilization are gaining momentum by the minute.

“This is not over,” said the legal scholar. “It's not over by a longshot.”

Please return to Indian Country Today Media Network for continuing coverage of breaking news in this story.

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tmsyr11's picture
Submitted by tmsyr11 on
if there is any thing this White House Administration has done for 5 years is put it-self and its policies "above Federal law". The White House continues or to 'support' or HAS SUPPORTED illegtimate movements as Trayvon Martin, Occupy Movement, and now continues to turn the other cheek to illegal migration and unsecure borders. It is overdue for Indian Tribal people (followed by their Govts.) to appeal DIRECTLY to the White House for intervention in social affairs (justice and education) and economic affairs. Every domestic interest and SPECIAL group (blacks, mexican, homosexual, muslim, etc) has publically sought and received White House assistance be it through official White House public acknowlegement, federal agency action, White House Executive Order, etc. Every foreign country has appealed directly to the White House for intervention. Why do Indian Governments 'continue' to follow the law? Every 'supporter' to Indian affairs seems to be well-financed (who can afford cell/smart phones and Twitter accounts?). There are more than enough tribal indian members who are graduates of well-reknowed trial lawyers 'skools' around the US. It is about time American Indian affairs are pushed to fore-front considering every other racial organizations and special-interest groups are getting what they want, i.e. Recognition. How about holding back Indian Gaming Casino revenue dollars for 2016 elections?

chahta ohoyo's picture
chahta ohoyo
Submitted by chahta ohoyo on
what can one say??? its all been said, and the same picture has played out thousands if not millions of times in trying to disassociate native peoples all over this planet from their beliefs, their ethnicity, traditions, etc....in protest/aiahninchi ohoyo

Sam Harris
Sam Harris
Submitted by Sam Harris on
Can't the tribe do something about this? I thought they have the right to step in when it comes to a native child and adoption that they have say in who can adopt whether the parent's rights are terminated or not. I think the tribe needs to fight for that right. I am hoping that it can happen and she stays with her father. Just because he didn't support the lady when she was pregnant a lot of fathers walk out on their kids, but are their rights terminated? NO this is total BS.

Deborah A Wolf
Deborah A Wolf
Submitted by Deborah A Wolf on
This is a travesty and lacks even the thin veneer of respectability. Pretty sad when Al Jazeera starts pitying US citizens. As a veteran, as a mother, as a righteous citizen of the United States of America, my blood is boiling over this. And why all the vitriol directed at this father? How many fathers do you know who have fought so long, so hard, and so honorably for their children? Dusten Brown is an amazing father. Laws have been broken, flouted, and mocked in the capobianco's obsessive drive to own this child, this accessory, this living breathing symbol of their supremacy. Roberts feels no more need to recuse himself than the SC Supreme Court feels to follow its own directives. The US Government has proven once again that any treaty with the US isn't even good latrine reading material. While sycophants and hangers-on howl at the foot of the capobianco tree, hoping that wealth and favor will rain down upon their heads, secure in the thought that the children of privilege cannot be stolen in the night, much less by daylight and with the blessing of the Supreme Court of the United States of America. My Country, 'tis of thee, sweet stench of treachery, for thee I grieve.

Samantha Franklin
Samantha Franklin
Submitted by Samantha Franklin on
This unethical adoption has been contested by her father since she was a baby...he was awarded custody of Veronica almost two years ago. NOW a so-called "adoption" has taken place in another state, within the last week, and without a best interest hearing? Where is Veronica's voice? She has been reduced to a commodity. Any "compromise" or handover she is forced to participate in would be abusive. www.PeachNeitherHereNorThere.blogspot.com