The National Indian Child Welfare Association today issued the following statement in response to yesterday's South Carolina Supreme Court decision on the Baby Veronica case:
"NICWA shares the outrage reverberating through Indian Country today. It is incomprehensible that, in its decision, the South Carolina Supreme Court took the added measure of forbidding the state Family Court from holding hearings to determine what is in Veronica's best interest. By opting to remand the case to the Family Court for the sole purpose of finalizing the adoption, South Carolina has failed to act in a manner consistent with the U.S. Supreme Court's decision.
While the Indian Child Welfare Act was not overturned and still stands as law, the decision by the South Carolina Supreme Court yesterday sends a chilling message. Like other Americans, American Indians rely on the integrity of the judicial system to protect our children. Now our faith in that system is shaken. Since the earliest contact, non-Indians have seen fit to take whatever they covet from Indian people. The sad truth is that this decision is one more chapter in that shameful history.
NICWA is reaching out to Congress to strengthen ICWA compliance and close loopholes so that the forced removal of Indian children from loving homes will never happen again. The Brown family and the Cherokee Nation continue to have our unwavering support as they pursue legal remedies to South Carolina's unjust decision."
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