TAHLEQUAH, Okla. —Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker and Chrissi Nimmo, lead attorney in the case, issued the following statements Tuesday regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to remand the Adoptive Parents vs. Baby Girl case back to the lower court. In the meantime, Dusten Brown retains custody of daughter, Veronica.
Principal Chief Bill John Baker:
“While we are thankful that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Indian Child Welfare Act and protected a law vital to the survival of Indian country, we are deeply, deeply disappointed that this case was not fully resolved.
We believe Veronica Brown’s best interests are served continuing to live in a loving home with her biological father Dusten Brown.
My heart, and no doubt the hearts of all of Indian Country, goes out to Dusten, our fellow Cherokee citizen, and his entire family – his parents, his wife and two small children, including Veronica.
Everything this family has gone through the past few years, just to keep his biological child—HIS baby girl— is more overwhelming than any of us can imagine.
Keeping Veronica Brown with her family is what’s best for her, her family, the Cherokee Nation and all of Indian Country.
The Cherokee Nation remains committed to the protection of all Indian children and families.
And we will continue to support the Brown family with our thoughts, prayers and every available resource we have, so that they can keep their family whole.
Their fight is our fight, and we will be there every step of the way.”
Assistant Attorney General Chrissi Nimmo:
“It has always been the position of the Cherokee Nation that Veronica’s best interests are served by her placement with her father. The Cherokee Nation will remain involved in this case because we believe it is in Veronica’s best interest to remain with her father and her tribe in Oklahoma.
Today’s ruling is a disappointing decision for juvenile law in general and it is a bad decision for unwed fathers, not just American Indian unwed fathers. However, we were pleased the provisions of the Indian Child Welfare Act were upheld for Native children and families.
In addition to ongoing involvement in this case, the Cherokee Nation will continue its work to protect Indian children and their families. We will also continue to educate the community, as well as child welfare professionals, on the continued need for the Indian Child Welfare Act and the importance of complying with it in every case that involves an Indian child.”
Cherokee Nation News Release
Julie Hubbard - 918-207-3896
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