ICWA

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Case Name: Mississippi of Choctaw Indians V. Holyfield
Facts:
Large numbers of Indian children were being separated from their families and their tribes. These children were unfairly placed into non-Indian homes; through the process of state adoption. Parental rights termination was also taken into effect. Child Welfare Act of 1978 (ICWA) gave tribal courts exclusive jurisdiction over custody proceedings involving and Indian child who lives in a tribes’ reservation. This case involved twin illegitimate babies. The parents of the babies were enrolled members of appellant Tribe. The twins were adopted, and given to a non-Indian family 200 miles away from the reservation. In the court’s findings, the parents had never been physically present; therefore the children were voluntarily surrendered by their parents.
Background of Case:
Mississippi of Choctaw Indians V. Holyfield involves the issue of ICWA pertaining to this case of adoptive children. Jennie Bell is a member of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians; which is federally recognized. Jennie Bell was pregnant with twins. The father of the twins however was a man who was married and had children of his own with his wife. Since she was an unemployed woman she knew she was not going to have the economic resources to raise two children on her own, so she turned to her family and the Choctaws on her reservation. Although she did seek help from her family and others from her reservation, there was no one that was willing to take in her two children.
When a couple, the Holyfields, heard about the children, they immediately looked into their adoption. This non-Indian couple adopted the children. The court issued a legal order of adoption in 1986. The Choctaw tribe stated that the ...

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...oluntarily. In other words, they were in a way legally abandoned.

My Comments:
The high amount of children that were given into adoption to non-Indian families in history took part in turning points not only for those children being adopted, but also those reservations that have been impacted by the removal of their people from the reservation. What has been done is irreversible, but now can be prevented from it occurring to any other families in the United States.
To a certain extent I can agree to the Supreme Courts rule in who gets custody of the children. The mother of the two children did give them up without thinking of the consequences of her actions. The ICWA however has helped many people in their cases and selected rulings. Although we cannot reverse the past, there is still ways we can incorporate our support in correcting the way the system works.
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