Sunday, July 21, 2013

Preserving cultural identity in the face of institutionalized white supremacy: Another Home-going -- Pt. 1a -- Cultural assaults on "The Other" continues

Veronica with her biological father Dusten Brown and his wife Robin. (Jeremy Charles for the Washington Post)
After having finally been able to organize my thoughts a little less emotionally about the decision reached by the "Supremes" in Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, I was gut-checked by this:  Baby Veronica To Be Adopted by White Couple:
In a 3-to-2 decision, South Carolina’s Supreme Court has ruled that the Native child whose case went to the US Supreme Court will be placed back with the white family that sought to adopt her.

In its ruling, the US Supreme Court held that Dusten Brown, and his daughter, Baby Veronica—who are both citizens of the Cherokee Nation—were essentially not protected under the Indian Child Welfare Act.  As such, the case was bounced back to the South Carolina court. After the ruling, Brown ironically attempted to adopt his own daughter in Oklahoma, since the high court didn’t recognize his rights as a parent. But Oklahoma declined to hear the petition, claiming that South Carolina retained exclusive jurisdiction of the case, since that was where the potential adoptive parents resided.

The South Carolina court agreed Wednesday to terminate Brown’s parental rights, ruling against him and Cherokee Nation. The ruling means that Matt and Melanie Capobianco, the white couple that sought to adopt Veronica, will now regain custody and finalize the adoption. (emphasis mine)
Before I launch into my feelings about the "taking" to which I referred here,  I just have to own, that my initial, sizing-up of Justice Sonia Sotomayor appears to have been a little hasty.

After the Changeling nominated her and then, had his puppy-dog underlings very publicly check her on her "wise Latina" comment and she acquiesced, saying it was a "poor choice of words" -- I thought, "No need to expect anything but the company line from her."  But it seems that, rather than taking a page from the Changeling's book, pretending to be wise and actually standing for something (other than himself and the string-pullers), once selected  -- she actually was wise, doing what my mother taught us regarding the whole, "integration" illusion.  Dana Lone Hill succinctly reiterates that lesson in her First Nations, White Privilege & the Red Struggle post:
“I will follow the white man’s trail. I will make him my friend, but I will not bend my back to his burdens. I will be cunning as a coyote. I will ask him to help me understand his ways, then I will prepare the way for my children, and their children. The Great Spirit has shown me – a day will come when they will outrun the white man in his own shoes.”
Tasunke Ota, Oglala Lakota
After reading her absolutely, stinging dissent (scroll down 3/4 of the way down to read it in its entirety), I've come to realize that unlike the Changeling, once she was selected, she refused to bend her back to their burdens and instead, she used that "trail" for some serious truth-telling.  Below, she lays out an excellent primer in how she learned to "understand" their ways and,"outrun the white man in his own shoes," skewering what Pascal Robert describes here, as the "Politics of Redemption" --
...The reader’s first clue that the majority’s supposedly straightforward reasoning is flawed is that not all Mem­bers who adopt its interpretation believe it is compelled by the text of the statute, see ante, at 1 (THOMAS, J., concur­ring); nor are they all willing to accept the consequences it will necessarily have beyond the specific factual scenario confronted here, see ante, at 1 (BREYER, J., concurring). The second clue is that the majority begins its analysis by plucking out of context a single phrase from the last clause of the last subsection of the relevant provision, and then builds its entire argument upon it. That is not how we ordinarily read statutes. The third clue is that the majority openly professes its aversion to Congress’ explicitly stated purpose in enacting the statute. The majority expresses concern that reading the Act to mean what it says will make it more difficult to place Indian children in adoptive homes, see ante, at 14, 16, but the Congress that enacted the statute announced its intent to stop “an alarmingly high percentage of Indian families [from being] broken up” by, among other things, a trend of “plac[ing] [Indian children] in non-Indian . . . adoptive homes.” 25 U.S.C.§1901(4). Policy disagreement with Congress’ judgment is not a valid reason for this Court to distort the pro­visions of the Act.  Unlike the majority, I cannot adopt a reading of ICWA that is contrary to both its text and its stated purpose.  I respectfully dissent. (emphasis mine)
Certainly far more "respectful" than I could've been under the circumstances (being "respectful" in the face of disrespect is counterintuitive to me -- particularly when the constant onslaught of microaggressions and overt racism are in play).  She continued:
ICWA commences with express findings. Congress rec­ogonized that “there is no resource that is more vital to the continued existence and integrity of Indian tribes than their children,” 25 U. S. C. §1901(3), and it found that this resource was threatened. State authorities insufficiently sensitive to “the essential tribal relations of Indian people and the cultural and social standards prevailing in Indian communities and families” were breaking up Indian fami­lies and moving Indian children to non-Indian homes and institutions. See §§1901(4)–(5). As §1901(4) makes clear, and as this Court recognized in Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians v. Holyfield, 490 U. S. 30, 33 (1989), adoptive placements of Indian children with non-Indian families contributed significantly to the overall problem. (emphasis mine)
This clip, from the soon to be released,  "Schooling the World: The White Man's Last Burden” immediately bears witness to that fact:

Moving on, with her dissent...
Working back to front, the majority then concludes that §1912(d), tainted by its association with §1912(f ), is also inapplicable; in the majority’s view, a family bond that does not take custodial form is not a family bond worth preserving from “breakup.” Because there are apparently no limits on the contaminating power of this single phrase, the majority does not stop there. Under its reading, §1903(9), which makes biological fathers “parent[s]” under this federal statute (and where, again, the phrase “continued custody” does not appear), has substantive force only when a birth father has physical or state-recognized legal custody of his daughter.
When it excludes noncustodial biological fathers from the Act’s substantive protections, this textually backward reading misapprehends ICWA’s structure and scope.  Moreover, notwithstanding the majority’s focus on the perceived parental shortcomings of Birth Father, its reasoning necessarily extends to all Indian parents who have never had custody of their children, no matter how fully those parents have embraced the financial and emotional responsibilities of parenting. The majority thereby trans­forms a statute that was intended to provide uniform federal standards for child custody proceedings involving Indian children and their biological parents into an illogi­cal piecemeal scheme. (emphasis mine)
The hypocrisy of this "scheme" is egregious, and veers dangerously close to the approval of child trafficking, if the "buyer"is white, and has enough money -- and the Capobiancos obviously fit both those requirements.  From the birth mother and her attorney (hired and paid for by the Capobiancos), to the agency handling the "adoption," to the faux adoptive parents and their attorney -- this case stinks of spiteful baby-selling.  The majority's wholesale acceptance of their "facts," despite evidence to the contrary, makes them complicit in the crime.

The birth mother, about whom I chose to exercise some restraint in my first post, should be ashamed. There's no doubt she got a boat-load of cash -- up to, and after the birth -- now she says, if the Capobiancos don't get Veronica, she will fight the termination of her parental rights (given up at her birth) if the couple’s adoption doesn’t go through.  À mi hermana morena, I say -- this is all you were ever about:

Though this case is primarily about Native American, biological fathers, it should send chills up the spines of any ethnicity of biological fathers, whom the haves routinely denigrate as "not wanting to take care of their own children" -- including their own.

Justice Scalia, joining Justice Sotomayor's dissent, makes plain the majority's hypocrisy saying:
While I am at it, I will add one thought. The Court’s opinion, it seems to me, needlessly demeans the rights of parenthood. It has been the constant practice of the common law to respect the entitlement of those who bring a child into the world to raise that child. We do not inquire whether leaving a child with his parents is “in the best interest of the child.” It sometimes is not; he would be better off raised by someone else. But parents have their rights, no less than children do. This father wants to raise his daughter, and the statute amply protects his right to do so. There is no reason in law or policy to dilute that protection. (emphasis mine)
And the majority's not alone in being hypocritical about this issue, our society is as well.  For all the talk in society about fathers not wanting to take care of their children, here we have a father who wanted to marry the mother of his child and live as a family -- fighting to do just that!  But Capobianco supporters rally around their "right" to this man's flesh and blood, while most of American society pays no attention.  Where's the flood of support for Mr. Brown?  Is society only interested in the perceived "rights" of the haves?  This is not their child!!!

I'd been seeing commercials for three upcoming episodes of Oprah's Lifeclass on "Fatherless Sons" and "Daddyless Daughters."  In it, she's crowing about, "I'm so glad we started this discussion!"  Please.  She may have started that discussion on OWN, but it's been going on long before then (guess you can tell, just like Obama-love, I'm not awash in Oprah-love either -- and for a lot of the same reasons).  I do, however, like and respect the opinions of Iyanla Vanzant.  As I think about this little girl, this one rings particularly true:
“What is it that would make a creature as fierce, majestic and powerful as a lion is, subject itself to the intimidation of a man a whip and a chair? The lion has been taught to forget what it is.”
― Iyanla Vanzant, Peace from Broken Pieces
I watched the "Daddyless Daughters" episode last weekend and it was interesting to hear how her opinions stacked up against the trauma being inflicted on this child by the Masters degree and PhD in Developmental Psychology-havin', faux adoptive mother, who develops therapy programs for children with behavior problems and their families! {smdh}  I wonder how Miss "O" and her team would spin what is happening to Veronica and her DADDY?  Look at the photo that introduces this post.  That child is a mirror of her father!  Do you think she won't know that the white man, who makes hay of cutting her umbilical cord is not her father?  What LIES will they tell her when she asks (and she will ask!) about her "real" family and why she doesn't look like EITHER OF THEM (Money talks, and bullshit walks is all I can think of right now)?!

As the case was kicked back to a South Carolina Court, where this sham adoption was already denied by the Family Court and then affirmed by the State Supreme Court, I just couldn't shake their continued, We want what we paid for protestations.  I never believed they cared a whit about "the best interests" of this child.  In this local Post & Courier piece, they tell the reporter -- "Their worst fear was making it harder for other families to adopt!"  And the more I read, the more obvious their motives become:
The Capobiancos realize that Veronica might call someone else Mommy and Daddy. But they know Veronica still remembers her first home.
In her room, the bed she once slept on is still set up as a crib. Matt Capobianco kneaded the arm of a padded chair tucked in the corner.

“When she couldn’t sleep, I would read to her in this chair,” he said. “Now when we come in here, it’s mostly just to run the vacuum.”

If Veronica returns, the couple thinks she’ll remember all of this — the Himalayan cat ZuZu, her toy grocery cart, the Santa, snowflake and candy cane stickers she adhered to a leg of the dining room table during the Christmas just before she left...

...Brown doesn’t want anything to change.

He, his wife, Robin, and Veronica vacationed in Branson, Mo., this weekend. But Brown thinks Oklahoma is where his daughter belongs.

It’s where she dons a traditional dress, dances, sings and bangs on a drum. She’s learning the language used in Brown’s Cherokee Nation.

It’s where she rides a Jet Ski with Brown and learns to doggy-paddle in a pool.

It’s where the pets she helped name — Cookie and Chip the guinea pigs, Cowboy and Boogers the dogs — mosey through the yard (emphasis mine)
Now it could just be me, but with the exception of Mr. Capobianco saying he read to her at night, those two descriptions of Veronica's life, B.A. (Before Alito)  and A.A. (After Alito) -- seemed all they ever had to offer Veronica were, THINGS -- bearing out Justice Sotomayor's most important statement in her dissent:
“We must remember that the purpose of an adop­tion is to provide a home for a child, not a child for a home.”
The Capobiancos need to realize, "The Great White Father Myth" is just that -- a myth:
Coming home from the schools and the cities and the milatary (sic) services the Indians of the new generation loom larger in their own self-esteem. It is this contagious pride that they have brought back with them to the reservations. Moreover, they now know more than merely how to speak the language of the conquerors. They know how to speak it in a way that the white man knows how to listen to. And it is this, their articulate voices, in swinging and university-toned English, which they have brought to the tribal elders, that more than anything else has scaled down the size of the unmountable mountain.

The effect of this change on the Cherokees of Oklahoma was told by Clyde Warrior: 'The unrest and resentment has always exsisted through all the age groups of Indians. But the elders did not think anything could be done.

"Now they have young people coming home who are somewhat verbal [in English], who have some knowledge of how the mechanics of government and American institutions work. They have begun to utilize these rebellious young people. It's a kind of happy meeting of elders, with power in the community, and these young people who have some idea of how urban America works."

In this way the young Indians are becoming the spokesmen for the unspoken thoughts of their fathers. So many things unsaid and uncommunicated for years have begun to be voiced with that "vehemence" and that "expressive, concise, emphatical, sonorous, and bold" eloquence that James Adair heard two hundred years ago.

And yet the white man, long soothed by the seemingly supplicant and seemingly stoic Indian, is reluctant to give up that comforting image. He prefers, of course, not to listen.

The tribal Indians are undergoing so intense and complex a process of rediscovery of their beliefs and strengths that they do not know how to make their voices heard. Nor do they know what to say. Young Vine Deloria, Jr., of the National Congress of American Indians, thought his own path of self-discovery that had led through two universities and governmental offices and Congressional hearings and national politics was not atypical.

His path "was just a little longer," Deloria, Jr., said: "In the college where I went there was a professor who had just discovered the 'crisis of identity.' He would sit in seminars and ask us: 'Do you have this "crisis of identity"?' What he meant was, 'Do you have a crisis in identifying with the mainstream of my way of life?' He should never have asked that question!

"There were a number of us, young Indians, who thought about it and discovered that we did not identify with his way of life. We identified with our Indian way of life.
As will "Veronica." I'm certain Dusten Brown and the Cherokee Nation will stop at nothing to curtail "The Taking" -- and they should not.  This child belongs with her father and if that does not happen, she will forever be a "Daddyless Daughter" -- I don't care how much money the child-trafficking Capobiancos have.

UPDATE: Native American groups ready to sue if SC court doesn't rehear Veronica case; Cherokee grant temp custody to father's family

Continued: Preserving cultural identity in the face of institutionalized white supremacy: Another Home-going -- Pt. 1b -- The "taking" rolls on with nary a peep from the MSM

- Leonhard: 'Human and Constitutional Rights' Violated in Baby Veronica Case
- Anger Erupts Across Indian Country Over Baby Veronica Ruling
- Native American Rights Fund: Stop the Forced Removal of Baby Veronica
- South Carolina court orders Baby Veronica returned to adoptive parents
-Native American group "confident" Veronica will stay with birth father
- James Island couple, Oklahoma man not giving up fight for chance to raise Baby Veronica

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