Native American Legal Update

South Carolina Supreme Court returns adopted child to Cherokee father under ICWA

On July 26, the South Carolina Supreme Court issued a decision returning a Cherokee girl to her father in Oklahoma two years after she was adopted by a non-Indian couple in South Carolina.  The court stated that despite the fact that the couple had shown they had established a loving home for the child, the Indian Child Welfare Act confers custodial preference to the child's Indian father.

Reuters reports that the girl's non-Indian mother made efforts to hide the father's Indian status, listing the child as Hispanic on Oklahoma State child removal papers.  The father sued to stop the adoption four months after the South Carolina couple took custody of his daughter. 

More information is available here.

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