A Cherokee child was at the center of an Oklahoma Supreme Court decision made Monday. CBS News reports Sept. 24 that a South Carolina couple got custody a four-year-old Cherokee girl after fighting for her adoption since she was born. The Oklahoma Supreme Court said it didn't have jurisdiction over the Cherokee child and dissolved a temporary court order that left the child with her father and his family.
Veronica is now with her adoptive parents, the Capobiancos. The Cherokee Nation was adamant to keep the girl with the tribe until the court's decision was made.
The Capobiancos and Veronica's biological father, Dusten Brown, fought for years over her custody. Their battle explored details behind "jurisdictions, tribal sovereignty and a federal law meant to help keep Native American tribes together," the report said.
Veronica's biological father is a member of the Cherokee Nation, but her mother in not Native American. She once lived with the Capobiancos from birth until she was 27 months old. Things changed when Brown was awarded custody under the Indian Child Welfare Act. Later a U.S. Supreme Court decision opposed Brown, and a "South Carolina court finalized the Capobiancos' adoption of the girl earlier this year. Brown had then turned to Oklahoma's courts."
Veronica's mother was pregnant when she was put up for adoption. The report further stated that the U.S. Supreme Court felt Brown was absent from his daughter's life when they made their decision earlier this year.
National Indian Child Welfare Association feels the system failed the Cherokee child and American Indians.
They released this statement:
"The legal system has failed this child and American Indians as well. Our prayers are with everyone concerned, but most of all with Veronica," said Terry Cross, the group's executive director.