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Cherokee Chief: Baby girl should remain with biological father






YouTube: Chief Baker comments on the "Baby Veronica" decision from the Supreme Court

Veronica Brown, the girl at the heart of an Indian Child Welfare Act dispute that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, should stay with her biological family, the leader of the Cherokee Nation said today.

Chief Bill John Baker hosted a press conference this afternoon in response to the decision. He said the tribe was grateful that the Supreme Court did not disturb ICWA.

But he said the tribe was "deeply, deeply disappointed" that the custody dispute will continue. The Supreme Court ordered the case to return to South Carolina, where a non-Indian couple wants to adopt the girl.

"Keeping Veronica Brown with her family is what is best for her, her family, the Cherokee Nation and all of Indian Country," Baker said today.

The Cherokee Nation intervened on behalf of Dusten Brown, a tribal citizen who objected to the proposed adoption. He won custody in the South Carolina court system only to see the Supreme Court determine that his rights are not protected under certain provisions of ICWA.

"The Cherokee Nation remains committed to the protection of 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," Baker said.

"Their fight is our fight and we will be there every step of the way," Baker concluded.

Supreme Court Decision:
Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl (June 25, 2013)

Oral Argument Transcript:
Adoptive Couple v. Cherokee Nation (April 16, 2013)

South Carolina Supreme Court Decision:
Adoptive Couple v. Cherokee Nation (July 26, 2012)

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Supreme Court set to rule in Indian Child Welfare Act case (6/24)
NPR: Supreme Court to rule in Indian Child Welfare Act case (6/24)