August 29, 2013

Christian adoption groups stereotype Indians

Baby Veronica and Indian Sovereignty 50 Years After the March on Washington

By Jacqueline KeelerThe argument posited by the Capobiancos–the white, South Carolina couple who wish to adopt Veronica–and their support team of PR professionals and lawyers is that ICWA sacrifices the needs of the Indian child to promote those of the tribe, often exposing the child to great harm by leaving them in the care of dangerous and violent Indian relatives. It is in this way, by pitting the helpless child against a vainglorious and ineptly-run tribal system, they have been extremely successful in persuading even moderate commentators like Anderson Cooper and Nina Totenberg of NPR to portray the Capobiancos as the wronged party, Dusten Brown as a deadbeat dad and ICWA as failed policy.

To be clear, the Supreme Court did NOT overturn ICWA, but in the court of public opinion ICWA and Indian Tribes lost a battle and that is something that we, as Indian people should take very seriously.

I have taken a closer look at two organizations that have been funneling substantial funds to the Capobiancos, These two organizations are the Christian Alliance for Indian Children and Citizens Equal Rights Alliance (CERA). I was surprised to learn that each organization had been led by Native Americans at certain points in their history. Roland Morris, a full-blood Chippewa of the Leech Lake Chippewa Tribe in Minnesota, an Upholsterer by trade with Christian Alliance and Scott Kayla Morrison, a Choctaw attorney who once led CERA (both are now deceased: Morris from cancer and Morrison, tragically, from suicide.) They both advocated greater oversight of Indian tribal governments by the Federal government and opposed tribal transfer of lands into trust, federal dollars spent in Indian country and ICWA. They were driven by the troubles they had seen in their communities and in their families (in Roland's case) and had drawn the conclusion that through alliances with both Christian and Republican party members that they could help bring about the end of the suffering on reservations.

The Christian adoption groups' websites and articles are filled with stories about the poverty and abuse of Indian children in Indian country. The Christian Alliance posted this report on its site about the Spirit Lake Nation:

Thomas Sullivan, Regional Administrator of the Administration of Children and Families in Denver, stated in his 12th Mandated Report to the ACF office in Washington DC, February 2013: 'In these 8 months I have filed detailed reports concerning all of the following: The almost 40 children returned to on-reservation placements in abusive homes, many headed by known sex offenders… These children remain in the full time care and custody of sexual predators available to be raped on a daily basis. Since I filed my first report noting this situation, nothing has been done by any of you to remove these children to safe placements.'"

But the Brown family (I include the grandparents in this as they were granted guardianship by the Cherokee Nation) seems to have none of these problems. It seems odd that with so many children living in need in Indian country, that they chose this case to challenge ICWA and tribal sovereignty. And it begs the question, are all American Indian families being painted with the same brush?
Comment:  Sure sounds as though American Indian families are being painted with the same brush. How are the problems on the Spirit Lake reservation relevant to the Cherokee Nation, or to any tribe other than Spirit Lake?

Does poverty in the white portions of Fargo, North Dakota, affect adoptions in Oklahoma City? Because those two cities are about as connected as the Spirit Lake and Cherokee Nations.

This is obviously pure stereotyping. The message is that all Indians are poor, criminal, and unfit to be parents--i.e., savage.

For more on Baby Veronica, see Baby Veronica Exemplifies Tribal Resurgence and Capobiancos Send The Locator.


Anonymous said...

Probably pedantic, but priestly pederasty is problematic to their point.

This counterpoint brought to you by the letter P.

Anonymous said...


While I like her entire article (the one you sent), I do feel it is too lengthy. The other commentator may have addressed that, but it's not clear.

But I thought your own commentary at the end was very well stated.


Anonymous said...

One of the most conservative, religious and socialist states in the US, Oklahoma, has recently been a killing field for children. More deaths of kids from infancy and toddler ages have died through violent deaths and accidents via neglect at the hands of rural, white communities. One recent death was of a 2 year old Cheyenne Arapaho the state left with a white woman named Amy Holder, 40, who was found guilty of child abuse for the death of Naomi Whitecrow, but she won't serve any prison time. This angered Whitecrow's relatives and tribal members.
“It's still legal in Oklahoma to kill an Indian," Theodore Nibbs said outside the courtroom, The Oklahoman reported.
Naomi had been placed in Holder's foster care. She died of blunt-force injury to the head, abdomen and extremities. Doctors, staff, caseworkers and lawyers knew this woman would go to jail, however,in a state that salivates for native imprisonment with excessive sentences for even the slightest offenses, this racism is systematic and quick. Yet, for allowing the beating of a two-year old, so much for "right to life" and "anti-abortion" rhetoric from Christians. Even an assumed Christian judge in Oklahoma pardons the killing of an Indian child. Genocide still?
As for Veronica's plight, it seems that being wealthy and connected gets you anything you want so why is this the only child that is needy on the planet?