People seem to missing the fact that this case is plagued with procedural errors. Furthermore, people are missing the fact that ICWA works to preserve families with enhanced services and additional protections for parents, Indian and non-Indian alike. However, ICWA strengthens and protects the rights of tribes and their future. I am not an attorney but I am an ICWA expert and a former state Native American Affairs Director I find myself asking several questions that no one else is asking. Was the adoption agency a for profit adoption agency? It sound like it was. Why did the biological mother not disclose to the biological father that she planned to terminate her own rights allowing the child to be adopted when she sought the father’s voluntary release? Why did the mother provide the wrong information regarding the father’s name when the adoption agency was looking into the child’s Indian ancestry for potential application of ICWA’s standards? The bottom line here is that the tribe was deprived of their right to intervene in the case. The tribe was deprived of their rights to transfer the case into their court system to maintain the case under its jurisdiction. The child was deprived of being placed first with an extended family member from either the father or mother’s side of the family or with an Indian family prior to the selection of a non-Indian family. I agree that this case is tragic but the adoptive family should be pursuing the issue in tribal court rather than South Carolina’s state court system. Furthermore, it kills me that people are so outspoken yet are ignorant about tribes, tribal rights, and the ICWA. Who cares what the child’s blood quantum may or may not be. ICWA clearly states that it applies if an Indian child is the subject of an involuntary or voluntary court proceeding and an Indian child does not have to be living the Indian culture in order to be subject to the application of the ICWA. Approximately 75% of all Indian live off of reservations and there are large, if not the largest, Indian populations in urban areas. So does that mean that the ICWA will not apply to them because they have no culture? The tribe's rights were violated and an incredible dis-service was done to this child. I think there is plenty of blame to go around for all involed.
Thursday, January 12, 2012 - 02:07