August 18, 2013

Baby Veronica exemplifies tribal resurgence

The latest developments in the Baby Veronica case:

Baby Veronica case: Victory unlikely for either side as mediation begins

By Michael OverallMatt and Melanie Capobianco wanted Friday's hearing in Cherokee County court to end with them having physical custody of the 3-year-old girl again, according to a statement that their spokeswoman issued before the hearing.

Instead, the hearing ended with both sides agreeing to enter mediation.

Think of it as the modern court system's version of stickball--an alternative to waging legal battles in front of a judge.

The two sides will likely sit down face-to-face with no attorneys present, said Steven Hager, a former mediator who now serves as the director of litigation for Oklahoma Indian Legal Services.
Cherokee and other Indians are up in arms about the proceedings:

'Baby Veronica' Protesters Assemble In Downtown Tulsa

By Tony RussellMore than two dozen supporters of Dusten Brown showed up at a State of Oklahoma building in downtown Tulsa Saturday afternoon.

Veronica, 3, is at the center of a custody battle between Brown, her biological father, and Matt and Melanie Capobianco of South Carolina, her adoptive parents.

The group carried signs and expressed their hopes that the courts will keep Veronica with Brown, who is a Cherokee Nation citizen.

One day after Veronica's biological father and adoptive parents went to court in Tahlequah, supporters of Dusten Brown say they aren't dropping their signs anytime soon.
Perhaps more important than the fate of one child is what this case signifies to Indian country:

To Oklahoma’s American Indian tribes, Veronica is a battle cry for cultures

By Andrew KnappIn the century since Indian children were removed because of government policies, tribes have made strides to restore their traditions. At the center of the resurgence: children who value their roots, no matter how little Indian blood might run through their veins.

The tribes thought the times of losing their children had ended. That’s why the recent adoption of 3-year-old Veronica, a member of the Cherokee Nation—an adoption that some here said was achieved through deception—has the Indian community talking about the old days again.

Their stance is matched by the pleas of Matt and Melanie Capobianco, who felt wronged when Veronica was taken from them. She’s their daughter, they said, and they want her home on James Island.

The custody dispute has become so much more. Though others have stakes in its outcome, the squabble has pitted the people of two states that are 1,000 miles but worlds apart.

Most Oklahomans understand the Cherokees’ cry, why Veronica matters so much. Their license plate says “Native America.” Their state is where Indians settled when others didn’t want them.

Losing Veronica to South Carolina, a state with one tribe compared to their 39, would be deflating to the spirit of tribal resurgence.
Comment:  For more on Baby Veronica, see Capobiancos Send The Locator and The Capobiancos' Anti-Indian Agenda.

Below:  "A boy plays amid about 20 picketers who gathered outside Cherokee County District Court in Tahlequah, Okla., on Friday, Aug. 16, 2013, to protest the adoption of 3-year-old Veronica by Matt and Melanie Capobiancos of James Island." (Andrew Knapp)

No comments: