Identity has always been a core issue in Native America. No less pressing, as the preceding documents attest, is the question of who decides. These issues matter because whose definition of being and belonging prevails carries real consequences for people’s everyday lives. This can be seen clearly in the context of the Indian Child Welfare Act. Adopted in 1978, the legislation addressed the removal of American Indian children from Native families by investing tribal governments with the power to determine cases involving child custody. Advocates argued that this was necessary to address one of the most wrenching legacies of colonialism and to guarantee the future health of tribal nations. The limits of tribal jurisdiction, however, remained unclear. The act defined areas of exclusive jurisdiction according to residence and wardship status. But in cases involving concurrent jurisdiction, state governments earned a reputation for either ignoring tribal sovereignty or investing in its own courts the right to define whether a child had been born into an “existing Indian family." Consider how Chickasaw scholar Alex Pearl questioned the blood logic involved in a 2013 Supreme Court decision that prevented a Cherokee father from gaining custody of his child, “Baby Veronica."33.
|Title of host publication||Say we are Nations|
|Subtitle of host publication||Documents of Politics and Protest in Indigenous America Since 1887|
|Publisher||University of North Carolina Press|
|Number of pages||3|
|State||Published - Jan 1 2015|