FYI Ned Hill, how dare u say such things! my baby sister is NOT a figment of my imagination.. how dare u ever accuse of such a thing because i would have never said it if it did not affect me- FUCK U ASSHOLE!
Ned Hill, I was unsure of whether to like your comment or not. Even though (I presume) you are a non-Native, the first part of your comment was real truth about the continuous blame of the past and laziness displayed by my own people; of which I cannot deny since I see it with my own eyes on a daily basis. But, you seem to not understand the laws of ICWA nor have read the article correctly. It is essentially not the Tribe that wants Veronica. I am sure that the tribe would have let go of the situation had the Capobiancos family had not brought this issue to attention- ultimately leading to the father requiring legal backup for his change of mind. Since Mr. Brown is the biological father, he reserves all paternal rights under ICWA law which was passed by U.S. congress in the 70s. Just because he was absent when she was first born does not mean that he will make a bad father. In fact, the fact that he had a change of mind and (from the sounds of it) a change of heart should administer enough proof of his desire to be an active and loving father figure in her life. Just because you hear of all this bad stuff that occurs on Indian reservations doesnt mean that there arent kids who are still able to grow up and experience the same kind of love and stability you see in most "white" homes (as you people have implied are the best sort of homes to be raised in). I can name several of my friends whom I went to high school with on the rez where they grew up in that came from good homes- which ultimately helped them succeed through college. Now they are upstanding citizens in our tribal communities and carry strong voices that will eventually lead the rest of our people to live prosperously without white man's religious and political influences!
SCinDC, you are either a lawyer, a moronic liberal, or both.
Tribes don't own children. This is pure BS and politics. The father signed away his rights because he wanted nothing to do with the child nor to be responsible for child support. The mother is not an indian and wanted a better life for her child. Thus she gave the girl up. End of story.
Some asinine and stupid law should not even be considered. Hell, that law should never seen the light of day and should be repealed. Such a law is akin to legalized slavery. People, especially children, are not property. Children are a product of two parents, not a tribe. Only a complete idiot would think this decision is the right one, regardless of legalities.
Cante Ista, I have no idea if your story is true or not, and it really doesn't matter. This is a totally different situation. You are trying to dream up scenarios and create revisionist history. All that matters is this, the father gave up his rights before the child was born. He wanted no part of the child's life, and zero responsibility. In no way should he now have any standing. Also, when you give up your rights, you have zero say in how the mother then handles decisions regarding the child. That is legal posturing and nonsense. He is trying to change what really happened. This is nothing more than this tribe wanting to get involved where it has no business, laws or no laws. There is this thing called the "smell test" and this whole thing fails because it stinks.
Short answer, YES.
However using the word 'property' is no more appropriate in the tribal context than it would be in speaking about a state's interest in a child who is put up for adoption. Referring to them as a '2%' blood recalls the precise type of paternalism and antiquated notions of tribal existence that laws like ICWA were designed to erase.
Here is why:
As a matter of their inherent sovereignty, tribes have the ability to define their own membership. If your 2%er was the child of a member of the tribe, and the tribe's criteria states that all children of members are presumed members at birth, then that child has as much protectable interest from the tribe's perspective under ICWA as a child that was born of two "full bloods" as you might say. As tribes differ widely in their membership and descendancy criteria (matrilineal, patrilineal, through marraige or not), it is a case by case situation. Even your 2%er would only be 5 generations removed from whatever you consider your "full blood" prototype of what is a true "Indian." In 2012, that is not such an outrageous proposition given how the last 150 years has played out for tribes. If a tribe considers children in such a situation to be worthy of inclusion in their tribal community, that is their sovereign choice and one that is protected under laws like ICWA.
Sarah Mason, I will tell you now that my statements were in no way racist. In fact, there is 14% more white blood running through my veins than there is Lakota blood (57-43). What I am educating about is mostly the fact that these poor souls are using their pity story as a means to reinact genocide. If you took any college courses in Native Studies or had family members working in tribal and US judicial systems, you would understand the genocidal implications of their "hope". As for my so-called "hate", I do not hate these people. I disagree with their fight. Yeah its sad that they lost a baby daughter. I made inference to losing a baby sister but I will not whale about it to the press because I have no say in it. They may have cared for her for four years, but that doesnt entitle them to have a say in it when they blatantly ignored the first contact made by attorneys when she was only four months old. Like I said, if they want her so bad, they should suggest visitation rights. There may have been personal circumstances regarding the intial denial of custody rights of the bio father that were not mentioned in this article maybe to win favor of the Capobiancos sop story. I am sure that if this story was the other way around, people would still be in favor of the white family because everyone seems to display that colonized, "white supremacy" sort of mentality! Quit acting so loving when you can't even fully embrace your American Indian heritage that you claim to have. I will pray to Tunkasila that you will one day consider reading about Tribal sovereignty and history, that both parties learn to live with their decisions, that we all learn from this sad and unusual situation, and that we can all grow together with the different values we were born with! Mitakuye Oyasin <3
What happened to Indians in America is tragic and sad, but once again we find liberal guilt and government intervention being the wrong answer. The Lumbee tribe in eastern NC has never never been recognized by the federal government. As such, it has never been given land or money, yet they prosper. Many, if not most, are as well off socioeconomically as whites in the area, in many cases better. Contrast that with the sky high rates of poverty, drug addition, alcohol abuse, depression, and suicide among other Indian tribes, especially for those living on reservations. Sins of the past will never be solved with money or government intervention. Ultimately people have to have pride and a work ethic. Indians and blacks today are only victims of the distant past because they have allowed themselves to be. In fact, given the advantages now in federal law and with so many programs in place, there is no reason blacks and Indians should be living as they do. You can't give things to able bodied people. You have to give them opportunity, hope, encouragement, but nothing more. We don't need reservations in SC to see the unintended consequences and futile results of failed government policies and intervention. A drive by any local housing project will do just fine. Compare them to the alternative, low income housing people have to work and qualify for, and put sweat equity into, and you see a totally different outcome.
This situation is terrible and heart breaking. A situation created by the aforementioned bleeding heat liberals and government intervention. The father gave up the rights to his child, the mother, who is not an Indian, wanted a better life for her daughter than she could provide. Thus she opted for adoption, which is a commendable thing. The courts and federal government have no business getting involved in this. That outdated, ill advised, and poorly written law is complete garbage. A reservation nor tribe have rights to a child. The father did not and does not want that little girl, the tribe does. This is about money and politics and its a bunch of bull shit. This is just further proof that liberals and a lack of common sense will ultimately ruin America. The best interests of the child has always been the driving force behind Child Services. For the courts to take this little girl from a loving family and send it to an absentee father and an India tribe is beyond stupid.
What's next? A black welfare mother gives up a baby to a white couple and Jesse Jackson and the NAACP come to town?
As being adopted at the age of 5 I thank God every day that my real parents gave their rights up as that being sad the father verbally gave his rights up to the child and never thought about what the rememification of it until now. I have a problem with that this is my opinion that his parents found out about the adoption and persauded him to reclaimed Veronica. And they new about the Indian Wellfare Act. I wander if they really thought it out when Veronica grows up and question about her real mother and look for her and when she found out about the Capobianco the adoptive parents how would she feel against her father especially if where she lives is below poverty and the adoptive parents could have provided her with everything she would have needed. I know from experiencing she will turn her back on her real family and probably turn to the Capobianco so I am for them getting her back for that reason and if the Brown really love her they will let the Capobianco talk to her or atleast tell her about them
SCinDC sounds as if you are making an argument that Indian children, even children with 2% Indial blood, are the property of the tribe.
This case is the most unfortunate example of what happens when the law, in this case ICWA, was not followed from the start. Read the opinions and pleadings from the SC Supreme and lower courts. ICWA's purpose was that tribes would have primacy in making adoption placement determinations for its children as opposed to state adoption agencies or individual parents. The law's provisions in this case should have been triggered before the State of Oklahoma adoption services ever set in motion the process for the child to arrive in SC in the first place. If you do not believe in the concept that Native American tribes should still exist or that they should be able to exercise what little sovereignty they have left over their lands and people, then read no further. Laws like ICWA or the last 40 years of federal Indian policy will do little to make you understand the big picture here.
Because of either miscommunication or deliberate misinformation on the part of the biological mother towards the State of Oklahoma, the Cherokee Nation did not get the opportunity to have that first say. Perhaps they may have eventually found
that the Capobianco's would have been an appropriate fit after exploring potential placement in the tribe. The point is they have the first say and that did not happen here. As soon as they were made aware of the situation, the Cherokee Nation intervened to protect that interest. Focusing on what the father may or may not have thought about what he was signing or giving up before he was deployed for military service ignores the overarching interests of the tribe. Just as any state has the authority to step in and make decisions on behalf of children when actions of their parents warrant state involvement, so has the law recognized the same interest of Native American tribes. Yes, the judicial process is painfully slow and it is sad that emotional bonds were formed as this litigation dragged on.
To the Capobianco family, my heart goes out to you. No law maker in Washington or tribal leader ever intended for these types of situations to unfold. I hope that you one day find peace.
Cante Ista, I feel for you that you had such a significant loss of someone you love. That alone should foster a sense of understanding of the loss the Capobianco's are feeling, along with the fear of what harm could come to her. She was not removed from this man forcefully like your sister, he terminated rights willingly and stated repeatedly that HE did not want Veronica. If you didn't like that someone could forcibly remove someone you love from your home, how can you possibly condone the removal of a baby from the only parents she has ever known? Unless you are suggesting that the capacity for loving someone rests SOLELY i the content of one's blood. Suggesting that your race (which is also mine) is capable of deeper, more compassionate love is not only is the more arrogant, racist thing I've heard in quite a while, it's also extremely foolish. Had the Capobianco's known about her heritage, they would have taken every opportunity to embrace and educate her on it. What about her Hispanic heritage, which makes up 50% of her "blood"? Or is that not as important? Bio-dad isn't hispanic-do you think he is capable of teaching her about that heritage? I doubt it, since his entire argument was that the Capobiancos were white and therefore not capable of educating her on Cherokee heritage. Food for thought. Sorry you seen to harbor so much hate, and have suffered such a great loss. Hopefully you can heal. Hopefully Veronica can too.
by the way, I have a baby sister that I havent seen in over 3 years because my ex-stepmother was a white woman who claimed abuse against my dad who I know for a fact never laid hands on her and would NEVER in a million years lay hands on my siblings and I. She was a tiny white woman claiming abuse against a "big Indian guy". The courts relinquished my dad's rights to see my baby sister which in turn relinquished the rest of the family's rights to every see her because my ex-stepmom took her and fled. That was a heavy loss on all of us. I saw her a few Xmases ago at a Kmart and my ex-stepmom scooped her up, told Dakota she never met me before and told me to stop confusing HER child! what could I do even though she was my blood sister? So, I have absolutely NO sympathy for the Capobianco people whatsoever!
by attmepting to find loopholes in ICWA is like trying to reinforce genocide that was inflicted on our people the last 500 years! so what if Mr. Brown gave up paternity rights after Veronica's birth? He gave them up based on intentions of leaving them solely on the birth mother. The Capobiancos need to get off the freaking pity pot already. What's more important than Veronica's best interest is the fact that our Native children remain in Native families so they can carry on our heritage for the 7th Generation. They were contacted by attorneys when she was 4 months old and refused to give her up then. They would have lost a lot less if they had given her up upon the first contact. I feel for their loss. I really do, but they need to put away their selfish desires. We natives are trying to rebuild and revitalize a culture that was taken away from us; and by allowing our children to continue to grow up in non-Native homes is like rebuking our dream of cultural regrowth. It's understandable that the Capobiancos have love for this precious child, but if they really care about her that much, they will care about her bloodline and understand that her biological father will be there for her from now on. They should suggest visitation rights, at least, in hopes that Mr. Brown or the courts will allow it.
I don't care if you're a demi-god, if you give up your rights, you give up your rights. It's kind of like shooting a gun. You can't "take back" the bullet once you fire it. This is so wrong.
Great article!! Praying for reunification for this family.
If he wasn't NA he would never have custody. I would imagine that when you give up your parental rights to your child to avoid any type of support, you also give up any type of decision making. Giving up of Parental Rights shouldn't mean that someone is able to set conditions around the Parental Rights they are giving up - like in this case, 'he thought he was giving up his rights to the bio-mom'. No other race would have this result. ICWA is shameful.
Thank you, Allyson, for such a wonderfully written article. My love always goes out to Veronica and the Capabiancos. ♥
Great article, very informative. Such a heartbreaking story. I pray the Capobiancos remain strong, and that Veronica comes home soon!
What a heartbreaking story, I can't imagine whay they must be going through. I pray the Capobianco's remain strong, and that Veronica comes home!!
Thank you for sharing this story! Very informative and balanced. Nice job Allyson.
The birth father gave up all legal rights to his daughter when he made a deal with the birth mother to give up paying child support. Why won't the courts acknowledge that fact? He doesn't get to change his mind simply because he's Native American.
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