The Arizona Supreme Court and Goldwater Institute don’t get to only show you what’s in their left hand –
The Arizona Supreme Court chose the latter, clearing a non-native couple to adopt their foster daughter over objections of a local Indian tribe.
ICWA, however, has little do with the legal or cultural attachment of a child to a tribal community, and everything to do with a biological attachment to a racial group, Timothy Sandefur, Vice President for Litigation at the Goldwater Institute, says.
The Goldwater Institute has intervened in a number of ICWA cases including this most recent one in Arizona.
“If you have the right blood cells in your veins, then ICWA applies a separate and substandard set of rules that makes it harder to protect you from abuse and neglect, and harder to find you an adoptive home,” Sanderfur says.
The goal, Sandefur says, is not to strike down the entire law or undermine the authority of Indian tribes.
“It [ICWA] needs to be amended,” he says, “with the principle in mind that all Indian children are citizens of the United States entitled to equal protection of the laws, and that means no separate rules based on biology.”
– but not show you what their right hand is doing. Tribes can try banning alcohol, getting the financial assistance required to fund schools, or receiving justice for rape (and get the “well, was the offender white or Indian” excuse) and not get this charade, “that all Indian children are citizens of the United States entitled to equal protection of the laws.” But the Arizona Supreme Court and Goldwater Institute get a heart full of selfish love when they want to steal children. The anti-immigration state of Arizona that banned books on Mexican-American Studies already smashed their credibility with their left hand. This: “With the principle in mind that all Indian children are citizens of the United States entitled to equal protection of the laws, and that means no separate rules based on biology” is the hammer of Right Wing Conservatism. But they need it to feel like a feather so everyone says, “It’s all for the best, then.”
I take issue with the facts that while states refuse to help tribes with preventive measures such as education, they are all too willing to snatch away indigenous children, since tribal efforts necessarily fail due to the Government not keeping its treaty obligations by refusing to honor its trust obligations. Once a child is in an established home for a length of time wherein it would be traumatic for the child to be removed, then the answer is to keep the child where it is. However, Arizona’s notorious anti- immigration atmosphere and it’s Mexican-American book ban:
“Seven books that were used as supporting materials for curriculum in Mexican American Studies classes have been moved to the district storage facility,” the statement read, “because the classes have been suspended as per the ruling by Arizona Superintendent for Public Instruction John Huppenthal.” District spokesperson Cara Rene added that “the books may be considered for future use as new curriculums are created going forward. We are seeking assistance from the Arizona Department of Education to help us create new classes for the 2012/13 school year.”
Makes the spirit of the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 greatly diminished.
I have written about my personal experiences with being adopted and questioning what my American Indian Heritage is here (and the diary linked to in it “Me As a Mixed Blood”).
Would I have wanted to be “reclaimed” as an adolescent? No. Do I wish the state had been required to tell me about my heritage and the Dominant Culture respected the “Red Road” like it does Christianity and parts of my practice were not illegal (like piercing in Oklahoma)? Yes. So, it is convenient for the state to feel all righteous for removing an American Indian child, while they spit on that child’s Cultural Heritage as a whole with the Hammer of Authoritarian Conservatism dipped in Genocide Denial.
I’ll give you the test. Are the parents willing to have the adoption be open where the child knows about their culture and are they willing to have the child follow that culture, giving it real exposure over a considerable amount of time? If not, they fail. I don’t get my Native American blood from my biological father’s side, but when I met my biological grandfather before he died, I told him the land was my church. “That’s (you’re ‘Indian religion’) is a good start” he said. He just didn’t get it.
Adoptions should be open, the right of the child supersedes that of the parent or conservative state.
I also thought this was still common knowledge in regards to my “stealing” description.
State officials say they have to do what’s in the best interest of the child, but the state does have a financial incentive to remove the children. The state receives thousands of dollars from the federal government for every child it takes from a family, and in some cases the state gets even more money if the child is Native American. The result is that South Dakota is now removing children at a rate higher than the vast majority of other states in the country.
Native American families feel the brunt of this. Their children make up less than 15 percent of the child population, yet they make up more than half of the children in foster care.
Maybe one comment reflects awareness of Tribal Sovereignty. That is the context in which I speak and others do not respect.
The fight to preserve tribal sovereignty and treaty rights has long been at the forefront of the Native American civil rights movement. The federal government has special trust obligations to protect tribal lands and resources, protect tribal rights to self-government, and provide services necessary for tribal survival and advancement.
Here is what I want everyone to consider: What if the child’s parents were one of the very last fluent English speakers? Or the last? The last fluent Inuit speaker died a few years ago, what if her child was in foster care or had been adopted soon enough to not traumatize the child?