August 13, 2013

The Capobiancos' anti-Indian agenda

Dramatic developments in the Baby Veronica case:

Birth father of adopted American Indian child arrested

By Harriet McLeodThe biological father at the center of a U.S. Supreme Court custody dispute over the rights of children with Native American heritage turned himself into Oklahoma authorities on Monday after missing court-ordered appearances to facilitate his daughter's return to her adopted parents, officials said.

Dusten Brown, who has Cherokee heritage and lives in Nowata, Oklahoma, was accompanied by a Cherokee Nation marshal as he was booked into the Sequoyah County Jail on a fugitive warrant, jail operations manager Jamie Faulkenberry said.

Brown left the jail after posting $10,000 personal recognizance bond.

The warrant was issued in South Carolina, where officials said they were working with Oklahoma officials to locate the daughter, Veronica, and arrange Brown's extradition on a charge of custodial interference.
I don't think Brown has much chance of prevailing at this point. But one interesting thing the media hasn't explored is the Capobiancos' race-based agenda. These people are almost the opposite of loving parents who care about nothing except the child's welfare.

Trace DeMeyer explains:

The Baby Veronica Case: David vs. Goliath

By Trace A. DeMeyerWhile there are many in the adoption industry and in religious institutions guided by best practices, there are a number of red flags in Veronica’s adoption case that raise serious concerns. Specifically, the adoptive couple’s supporters, including fringe faith based organizations, tout a hauntingly familiar “save the Native child” mission. In fact, it’s become clear that the close supporters of the couple are actively working to erase ICWA altogether and open the flood gates to more adoptions from Indian country.

According to South Carolina court records, the biological mother Ms. Maldonado and the adoptive couple, the Capobiancos, were connected by the Nightlight Christian Adoption Agency--a Christian based non-profit with offices in California, Colorado, and South Carolina. According to the agency “Nightlight provides domestic and international adoption services, to families in all 50 states, and embryo donation and adoption worldwide” while remaining “committed to carrying out our mission in a way that will bring glory and honor to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.” Faith is clearly a driving factor in this adoption effort. As Ms. Maldonado pointed out in a recent Washington Post op-ed, speaking publicly for the first time in years, she wrote that she chose the Capobiancos because she, “could tell they were people of strong faith, like me.”

Adoption agencies like Nightlight rely on the ever dwindling “supply” of children for their livelihood, not just to achieve their religious mission. That’s why it’s concerning that the adoption lawyers filed error-filled ICWA paperwork to the Cherokee Nation. Even the original South Carolina Supreme Court decision stated that though Maldonado alerted the agency of the father’s status as citizen of the Cherokee Nation, “It appears that there were some efforts to conceal his Indian status.” If those efforts to conceal his status had never occurred, Veronica’s father would have been notified of the attempt to adopt his daughter and she would have been with her father from the very start. Instead, without Mr. Brown’s knowledge, Veronica was removed from Oklahoma to South Carolina just days after her birth. Mr. Brown was then notified of the adoption four months later, only days before he was to be deployed to Iraq with the United States Army.

The actions of the Capobianco’s supporting cast during this saga should raise the greatest concern. The Capobianco’s PR agent, Jessica Munday, a family friend, has been working hand-in-hand with a group called the Christian Alliance for Indian Child Welfare to operate the “Save Veronica” campaign which gathers support and raises money for the couple’s legal fees--$40,000 by the end of 2012. If the mission to “save” Veronica from her Cherokee family wasn’t problematic enough, the Capobianco’s supporters have stealthily created a new organization with other religious adoption interests to lobby Capitol Hill to end ICWA’s protections.
A colleague elaborates on the Capobiancos' conservative ties:Well, the Capobiancos are looking a little under the weather after battling this case for years.

Maybe next time they can talk about their affiliation with the Coalition to Protect Indian Tribes and Families (CPIC), which Melanie (Duncan) Capobianco, Mark Fiddler, and their publicist Jessica Munday of Trio Solutions' "Save Veronica" campaign, are all founding members. CPIC, whose mission is to "amend" ICWA, orchestrated guests Troy Dunn and Johnston Moore (both members of CPIC) on Dr. Phil in 2012 and has an online petition of some 23,700 signatures to amend ICWA.

Oh, and CPIC works closely with the Christian Alliance for Indian Child Welfare ( for Indian families "at risk" with ICWA and the Citizens Equal Rights Alliance (CERA) that declares Federal Indian policy racist and unconstitutional.

And...these organizations, along with Melanie (Duncan) Capobianco, are all part of the "Tea Party Community" that meets in Washington, DC.
What's their objective?

Another column tells us the racial agenda behind these right-wing connections:

Baby Veronica: U.S. Doesn't Respect or Understand Native Culture

By Dina Gilio-Whitaker[F]or an adoptive couple like the Capobiancos, the adoption process is an investment of time, intense emotional energy and large amounts of money. As ICTMN reported, the Caopbiancos as of two years ago were into their adoption of Baby Veronica (or Ronnie, as her family calls her) for $30,000 to $40,000 based on court records. People who are desperate for a child, where adoption is (very problematically) market-driven, with demand far exceeding availability--with that kind of energy and financial investment, aren’t going to give up easily. The Capobiancos undoubtedly are emotionally attached to Ronnie, but this fight seems to be more of an ideological war for them and their faith-based supporters than it is about what is in the best interest of the little girl.

On a socio-cultural (and inevitably political) level, the so-called Baby Veronica case is a stark reminder of how narratives of Native American identity have been constructed in the US. Much of the non-Native media reporting has invoked Dusten Brown and his daughter’s blood quantum in a way that minimizes their Cherokee identities. Emphasizing low blood quantum is an attempt, whether intentional or not, to diminish the role of culture and kinship as criteria for belonging in a tribal society. It relies on the tired and old but very destructive stereotype that “real Indians” are those with an acceptable fraction of Indian “blood,” arbitrarily imagined by society at large.

But worse still, invoking blood quantum complicates the understanding of Indian identity in the public’s eye by “racializing” it—a tactic favored by anti-Indian activists such as the Coalition for the Protection of Indian Children and Families who are working for the dismantling of the ICWA. Because ICWA is “race-based,” so the argument goes, it is unconstitutional.

In Indian country we’ve said it a million times and we’ll keep on saying it until everyone gets it—Indian identity is not based on racial categorizations, it’s based on political distinctions. That is, Native nations composed of individual Indians (which they themselves are free to determine—even if based on racialized ideas of blood quantum) are nations not because they consist of people of a particular racial make-up, but because of their pre-constitutional existence and their political relationship with the US. Thus, the efforts of anti-ICWA activists is really an ideology bent on the continued suppression of the political rights of Native nations.
Comment:  Is it wrong that I keep wanting to call them the Copacabanas? <g>

Tea Party conservatives who hate minorities such as Indians...we've heard that only a thousand times or so.

You can bet these conservative Christians have stereotypical views of Indians. Like this: "They're drunks, heathens, savages--incapable of raising children to be good Americans = good Christians." There's no way they'd want to destroy tribal sovereignty and law if they thought Indians were the same as everyone else.

For more on Baby Veronica, see Three-Way Battle for Baby Veronica and Indians May Sue for Baby Veronica.

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