Statement from Inter-Tribal Council of the Five Civilized Tribes:
Cherokee Nation Chief Bill John Baker, President of Inter-Tribal,
Muscogee Creek Nation Chief George Tiger,
Choctaw Nation Chief Greg Pyle,
Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby, and
Seminole Nation Chief Leonard Harjo
RE: In Support of the NCAI/NARF/NICWA Civil Lawsuit to Defend the Civil Rights of “Baby Veronica” and Her Right to a Fair Best Interest Hearing
“We stand today representing our five nations and joining with sovereign Indian nations across the United States and multiple national Native American organizations in support of the civil rights lawsuit filed in South Carolina on behalf of Veronica Brown, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. On July 17, 2013, the South Carolina Supreme Court ignored the child’s and the Brown family’s right to due process when it ordered the finalization of Veronica’s adoption by non-Indian parents and her removal from her biological Cherokee father and Cherokee family.
“The South Carolina Supreme Court’s order flies in the face of its previous determination and the U.S. Supreme Court. As elected leaders of sovereign tribal governments, we are outraged by the actions taken by the South Carolina Supreme Court. The reckless order to rush Veronica’s adoption will negatively impact Native children and family preservation efforts nationwide. Most importantly, though, it will take a happy and well-adjusted child from the only family she knows: her father, sister, stepmother, extended family, tribe, community and culture.
“A severe injustice has been committed to an innocent Cherokee child and her loving family in Oklahoma. The Brown family, including Veronica, deserves their due process. They do not deserve to have their lives forever transformed by the South Carolina judicial system without cause or consideration.
“Indian children being removed from their families and homes is not a new story in Indian Country. Those dark days have reared their head again sadly in South Carolina. We will stand with Veronica, the Browns, and national tribal organizations fighting for fairness and justice."
Cherokee Nation News Release
Julie Hubbard - 918-207-3896
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