Christian Evangelical Groups involved in Federal Indian Adoption Policies


Chebon Kernell beats a drum and sings as participants dance during a rally in support of three-year-old baby Veronica, Veronica’s biological father, Dusten Brown, and the Indian Child Welfare Act, in Oklahoma City, Monday, Aug. 19, 2013.

The Baby Veronica case, named for the girl at the center of a contentious child custody dispute, stirred powerful emotional responses from many groups, including some Christian evangelicals.

Motivated by their faith in God and a distrust of federal Indian policies, a few evangelical organizations are campaigning to abolish the federal Indian Child Welfare Act at the heart of the dispute.

Congress enacted the law in 1978 to address the abuses that separated Indian children from their families through adoption or foster care. The law gives related tribes a preference in custody proceedings involving Indian children.

Evangelicals, who have recently seized on adoption of orphaned children as a moral imperative, want fewer barriers to providing Native American children homes and see the federal law as an obstacle.

In the Baby Veronica case, an Oklahoma Cherokee father is fighting to retain custody of his daughter who will turn 4 on Sunday (Sept. 15), while a white adoptive couple in South Carolina who raised the girl from birth to age 2, wants her back.

In a 5-4 decision last summer, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the federal law did not apply to the father and sent the case back to South Carolina for consideration.

The Cherokee Nation is fighting to claim jurisdiction under the same law and believes that Veronica’s case is an attack against the law and tribal sovereignty.

Elizabeth Sharon Morris of Hillsboro, N.D., believes the child should stay with her adoptive family.


[Though this story was published in 2013, we are aware that Elizabeth Morris and her group CAICW are still lobbying to end ICWA, which is still disturbing to me and the thousands of Lost Birds who were adopted out in the last 100 years….Lara/Trace]



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