AP Photo/Tulsa World, James Gibbard
Veronica Brown with her father Dusten Brown and his wife, Robin, at their home in Nowata, Oklahoma.

Anger Erupts Across Indian Country Over Baby Veronica Ruling

Suzette Brewer
7/18/13

Within minutes of yesterday's ruling by the South Carolina State Supreme Court ordering the Family Court in Charleston to finalize the adoption of Veronica Brown to Matt and Melanie Capobianco, Indian tribes and organizations from coast to coast began registering their anger and outrage at the decision which left no room for a "best interest" determination for the child's custodial placement.
 
Starting with the Cherokee Nation, who angrily vowed that the case is "not over," the tribe issued an immediate statement saying, "We are outraged and saddened that the South Carolina Supreme Court would order the transfer of this child without a hearing to determine what is in her best interests, particularly in light of the fact that this very same court previously found 'we cannot say that Baby Girl's best interests are not served by the grant of custody to Father, as Appellants have not presented evidence that Baby Girl would not be safe, loved, and cared for if raised by Father and his family.'”
 
National Indian organizations quickly followed suit, including the National Indian Child Welfare Association, who called the decision "stunning." Today, the Association issued the following statement:
 
"The National Indian Child Welfare Association shares the outrage reverberating through Indian country today. It is incomprehensible that, in its decision, the South Carolina Supreme Court took the added measure of forbidding the state Family Court from holding hearings to determine what is in Veronica’s best interest. By opting to remand the case to the Family Court for the sole purpose of finalizing the adoption, South Carolina has failed to act in a manner consistent with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision."
 
The Washington, D.C.-based National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) also joined in the growing chorus of fury over the termination of Dusten Brown's parental rights and removal of his biological daughter from his custody.
 
“We are witnessing the final steps in a forced removal of a Native child from her father, her family, and her Native community," read the statement. "NCAI is astounded and alarmed that the South Carolina Supreme Court has issued an order to transfer Veronica, the daughter of Dusten Brown, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, to the adoptive couple and doing so without holding a hearing to determine the best interests of the child. There is no scenario in which the best interests of this three year old child will be served by removing her from her loving father and family raising her in Oklahoma. Mr. Brown pursued his right to care for his biological daughter since the moment he learned of the adoption. A removal of the child will be extremely traumatic for her and is clearly not in her best interest."
 
Although at the present moment, it is unclear as to what, if any, legal strategies are on the table, both the Brown family and the Cherokee Nation are being joined by teams of lawyers from across the country to determine next steps.

Just moments ago, the Dusten Brown and his wife, Robin, issued the following statement:
 
"We are outraged that the South Carolina Supreme Court would order the adoption of our daughter finalized without a proper hearing to determine what is in Veronica’s best interests. This child has been back with her family for 19 months and to tear her away from us, the family she loves and the only family she knows or remembers, would be devastating to her," the statement reads. "This is an Oklahoma child and her placement should not be considered by a court in South Carolina. We have contacted our U.S. Senator and encourage each of you to do the same, in order to help us keep Veronica in her home, which is a safe, loving and nurturing environment. We will never give up the fight to raise our daughter."

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

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tmsyr11's picture
tmsyr11
Submitted by tmsyr11 on
What a better opportunity for tribal governments and "indian supporters" to barack h. Obama, to approach the White House and ASK for White House intervention into the SOCUS rulling. If brack h. obama can generate executive orders at a whim disregarding established law - then i am 99% certain an Executive Order can be generated. barck obama is an adopted Indian brother to the Crow. barck obama has had a beer summitt before. barack boama has publicly endorsed the peacefully protests AGAINST the florida rulling in gangsta wannabe - Trayvon Martin. barack obama as Commander in Chief of military has opinioned his authority to 'charges' against those accused of rape in military service. barack obama at every opportunity publically opposed shedding Muslim/Islam in a negative light. Barack Obama has 'listened' to direct appeals from US citizens in losing homes due to economy, natural disasters, etc. It is about time for Indian Govts and these 'indian supporters' to step up and get barack OBama's attention by asking directly for White House help and assistance.

tmsyr11's picture
tmsyr11
Submitted by tmsyr11 on
Where or what happened to the much celebrated/reported "Idle No More" movement? Are Twitter accounts still happening?

Two Bears Growling's picture
Two Bears Growling
Submitted by Two Bears Growling on
Outrage is not even the word to describe how many of us feel about this great injustice trying to be committed to one of our distant relations across Turtle Island! Inflamed would more precisely describe things I believe. The battle wasn't chosen by us, but the enemies have drawn the lines & made the charge my friends.................Time to give them what they ask for: A war! Hoka hey!

Kathy Hassouneh
Kathy Hassouneh
Submitted by Kathy Hassouneh on
Suzette Brewer, your poignant articles have made me cry for Ronnie Brown, Please promote the petition I just created on change.org. Thank you for being the voice for the child who should NOT be ripped away from her loving father, family and culture. My own children are Arab. They have dealt with a lot of racism in the deep south... Being multi-cultured is a gift one should be allowed to embrace! If a child is forced to mesh into a culture that is not their own, they suffer,
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