Navajo supporters point out that sending a 4-year-old Navajo child to a Christian family removes that child from the religious and cultural traditions of their tribe.

Should Native American children that go up for adoption be placed in Native American homes? Or is it okay to separate them from their culture, tradition, and religion? 

These are the questions at the center of a crucial Supreme Court case happening right now. However, it isn't getting nearly as much attention as experts say it should. 

The case involves a custody battle between the Navajo Nation and the Brackeens, a white Texas family that follows evangelical Christian traditions. Each side is seeking to permanently adopt a 4-year-old Navajo child.

Navajo supporters say that removing the child from their tribe is unethical, as it would rob them of the opportunity to become immersed in tribal culture and faith practices. 

On the other side, those defending the Brackeens argue that the child should be placed in the household that can provide the best care – even if that means they are raised in the evangelical church. 

How the ICWA Is Involved

The Supreme Court case centers around a decades-old law called the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), which holds that if a child who lands in the state foster care system is eligible for tribal membership, the child should be adopted by a tribal family whenever possible.

ICWA was enacted in 1978, after years of tribes complaining that children were being plucked out of their communities for adoption by white families.

“Being white or Christian was the standard of good parenting and poverty was somehow equated to bad parenting,” explained Kimberly Cluff, the legal director for the California Tribal Families Coalition.

Congress responded to these complaints, and the policy was enacted. 

However, attorneys for the Brackeens say that the IWCA is unconstitutional and discriminatory because it is based on race. They argue that just because the Brackeens are a white household, that shouldn’t deny them the opportunity to provide a better life for a Native American child.

Losing Their Religion

But is this really about race?

Navajo supporters point out that is just one aspect of the adoption dynamic. By sending a 4-year-old Navajo child to a Christian family, they say you’re also removing that child from the religious and cultural traditions of their tribe.

Because the family attends church regularly, the child will probably end up worshiping the Christian God instead of following their ancestors' sacred spiritual traditions.

Critics argue that this is just another example of the centuries-long “cultural genocide” carried out against indigenous tribes by mostly white, mostly Christian people in North America.

The Supreme Court heard arguments last week, though it sounds like the justices are split and no decision is expected yet. 

What are your thoughts? Is it right or wrong for Native American children that are up for adoption to be taken away from their culture and religion?


  1. Rod Gesner's Avatar Rod Gesner

    Native american tribes are Sovereign nations withboth forced separation by treaties and protections and promises by treaties those treaties have been violated and ignored for centuries. The abuses by catholic and other "orphanage. Schools" Where the native children stolen from their impoverished tribes were beaten and tortured for speaking their language under the concept " kill the indian save the child" is a disgusting abuse of the treaties and tribes. Evangelicals are known for their oppresive rigid fundamentalist beliefs. Furthmore an evangelical tent revival that ignored the risk of covid and went ahead with their revival is responsible for spreading covid to the navajo nation killing untold tribal members to curse a native child by such practices and such people is a continuation of the religious oporession and tribal genocide that started with the diseases like syphilis and cholera that columbus brought and continues today.. Reverse all treaty violations. Give back stolen lands. Return true Sovereign rights to all tribes. Compensate them fairly for all losses. And get the gangsters and other preditors out of casinos and any native land use..

    1. Donald G Magel's Avatar Donald G Magel


  1. Colleen McAllister's Avatar Colleen McAllister

    When I worked at a foster/adoption agency there was a child who came into our care. The foster mom was black as were her bio children and others she adopted. When it was discovered that the child had was partially Native American, ICWA kicked in. The tribe was contacted and after much legal arguing the tribe said they really had no one who wished to adopt the child.

    The foster mom had fallen in love with the child as had her family and it was decided to allow the adoption. Adoptive mom offered to take the child to local powwows and other tribal meetings to immerse her in the native culture. This child was only 5% indigenous.

    This issue needs to be handled on a case by case basis.

    1. Minister Jeannine of the Church of the Free Spirit's Avatar Minister Jeannine of the Church of the Free Spirit

      Well clearly in this case, the Native American Family Dearly loves the child and wants the child!!!

    2. Pastor Jim's Avatar Pastor Jim

      Absolutely! We are human beings first and growing up in a loving environment trumps culture.

    3. Rev. B's Avatar Rev. B

      Well said!

    4. Gary Bearman's Avatar Gary Bearman

      Comment removed by user.

  1. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

    We have in the past. WHITE setters enslaved Native American children. Then the US government kidnapped Native American children and gave them to WHITE settlers for decades. If you don't know your American History take a look at the Orphan Trains.

    Like football? We have Lt. Col. Richard Henry Pratt who founded the Carlisle Indian School. (Take a look at how many Native Americans selected death instead of attending Carlisle Indian School. It was the Native Americans at Carlisle Indian School and Jim Thorpe who saved American Football and made it popular.

    I think America instead of placing/forcing Native American children to live with Whites and "we" did 100 years ago should honor the treaties we made and then broke with the Native Americans. The Whites in this country promised to provide water, food, shelter sanitary sewers, Internet and electricity to Native Americans. Maybe if America did what was promised we would not be kidnapping Native American children again. Take a look, we are just getting around to installing the electricity to some of the Native Americans. Something America promised to do nearly 100 years ago.

    Remember Whites were the first illegal immigrants. With Thanksgiving coming up, just think abut what the Native Americans have to be thankful for after helping the White folk.

    1. Clerance Homister's Avatar Clerance Homister

      That is totally ridiculous.

      1. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

        @Clerance Homister What is totally ridiculous? American History? Are you an American? Don't you know anything about the history of our country?

  1. Nicholas J Page's Avatar Nicholas J Page

    Why would you take a child out of their culture and education and background The Navajo Indians should be allowed to continue with their reasons.and logic leave the children where they belong in a tribal family.Dont take their heritage away from Let them learn how to become a part of life and to learn about Native Indian lore.

    1. Dennis John Roda's Avatar Dennis John Roda

      First... I think we should all examine and consider our emotions and our motives as it relates to the question or question here. Having a hard-line position on this (from either direction) is almost certainly not looking at what's best for the child, it's what aligns best with your thinking. Saying that a 4 yr. old "Native American" born child must stay in their respective "native american" tribe... irrespective of economics, love, and the true want to raise and nurture that child...(which means "the system" is already dictating the child's future), and by that logic it further suggests that the child must marry a Native American, which also "preserves" the "tribe". Would we say that's a must too? I think (and hope) not. What about a foster child who's mother was from Uganda and father was from Scotland? How do "we" place that child to best preserve their indigenous heritage? A child (who at 4 years old may know what they like (candy or carrots), simply cannot not know what's best for their own sake.

      If we / I / you are given the responsibility to make certain a child is given the best opportunity to be in a loving, safe, secure home and family... that's what should be done. That's regardless of race, historical culture, gender, etc. Period. Hopefully the best adoptive parents will be open minded enough to help (even encourage) the child to learn about their ancestral heritage and to be as much a part of it as they wish.

    2. Dennis John Roda's Avatar Dennis John Roda

      First... I think we should all examine and consider our emotions and our motives as it relates to the question or question here. Having a hard-line position on this (from either direction) is almost certainly not looking at what's best for the child, it's what aligns best with your thinking. Saying that a 4 yr. old "Native American" born child must stay in their respective "native american" tribe... irrespective of economics, love, and the true want to raise and nurture that child...(which means "the system" is already dictating the child's future), and by that logic it further suggests that the child must marry a Native American, which also "preserves" the "tribe". Would we say that's a must too? I think (and hope) not. What about a foster child who's mother was from Uganda and father was from Scotland? How do "we" place that child to best preserve their indigenous heritage? A child (who at 4 years old may know what they like (candy or carrots), simply cannot not know what's best for their own sake.

      If we / I / you are given the responsibility to make certain a child is given the best opportunity to be in a loving, safe, secure home and family... that's what should be done. That's regardless of race, historical culture, gender, etc. Period. Hopefully the best adoptive parents will be open minded enough to help (even encourage) the child to learn about their ancestral heritage and to be as much a part of it as they wish.

  1. Maximillian Martin's Avatar Maximillian Martin

    Absolutely NOT!!! The Native American Child Welfare Act was established to preserve Native culture, traditions, and spirituality for future generations of our people by placing Native children with Native families. Placing them in white christian families causes separation from those practices and typically forces the conversion and assimilation of the children. Doing that is just another form of genocide and should be stopped immediately!!!!

    1. Clyde's Avatar Clyde

      Thank you!!!!

    2. Pastor Jim's Avatar Pastor Jim

      I vehemently disagree. While rearing children in their respective cultures is ideal, it is not possible in every case. As stated in an earlier comment, adoptions should be considered on a case-by-case basis.

      1. Jo Hanna Kingsland Mechergui's Avatar Jo Hanna Kingsland Mechergui

        Well stated, Pastor Jim

    3. Clyde's Avatar Clyde

      Thank you!!!!

    4. Clyde's Avatar Clyde

      Comment removed by user.

    5. Clyde's Avatar Clyde

      Thank you!!!!

    6. Clyde's Avatar Clyde

      Thank you!!!!

    7. Clyde's Avatar Clyde

      Thank you!!!!

    8. Clyde's Avatar Clyde

      Comment removed by user.

  1. Michael Burton's Avatar Michael Burton

    The key here is the statement by the Brackeens: .."argue that the child should be placed in the household that can provide the best care – even if that means they are raised in the evangelical church." There is nothing inheriantly ethical about being raised in an evangelical church. By age 4 a child has become immersed in the culture of the Navajos and should remain in that culture. Even if the child were younger, he/she would later discover that he/she was of Navajo blood and would be torn between tow cultures, a sad situation to place any child. I fthe situation was reversed I would agrue the same way.

  1. Tom's Avatar Tom

    It's wrong for Native American children that are up for adoption to be taken away from their culture and religion when there is an indigenous community willing to take the child in. If there isn't one willing or able to do so, it's fine for another family to take the child in but whenever possible they should be raised in the same community they were born into especially since the US has a long, bloody history of slaughtering indigenous peoples and decimating their communities.

  1. Gregory Alan Richards's Avatar Gregory Alan Richards

    Hasn't the White Man taken enough from the Native Americans? They took their land, they almost drove then to extinction, they Force Marched them across the country into reservations. They Forcibly removed the children and put them into Christian based schools. The children were not allowed to speak their own language, if they did, they were beaten. They were not allowed to pratice their own traditions; again, if caught they were beaten. Thank Good when this arocity ended there were enough elders left to pass down the traditions to the newer generations. Let the Tribe adopt the child and teach him his history, language and traditions.

  1. Nancy Pianfetti's Avatar Nancy Pianfetti

    We have so little left of our original Americans! PLEASE let this dear child remain within her culture!!! So much of the Native American culture has been swept away and denied. I beg of you to allow the instructions of the tribe be allowed to instruct this little soul into her native culture. It is SO important to this nation! Let us NEVER forget who was here first and to whom this nation belongs...a people who respected every blade of grass, every drop of the waters and every rock of the mountains. WE are the foreign invaders!!! PLEASE let them rest in peace on whatever scrap of land we left them with. We've robbed them of their culture, their dignity and their homes. SHAME ON ALL OF US!!!

  1. James A. Rusterholz's Avatar James A. Rusterholz

    Why would we not allow a child the opportunity to have loving and caring parents, that this goes both ways, we should allow Native Americans to be able to adopt white children. It should never be about the race, color etc.... it should be about people who want to love, care for, and raise a child.

  1. Keith Allen Steele Eash's Avatar Keith Allen Steele Eash


  1. Thomas Edwin Peterson's Avatar Thomas Edwin Peterson

    Imo the child could be raised by the Navajo if they are amenable to such a thing.

  1. Gerard J Babin's Avatar Gerard J Babin

    Absolutely not. A child's culture is their unique identity. Most if not all Native Religion as it is referred to by whites, is spiritual on more than one level. The "betterment of the child" that white courts speak of is often seen as a token or status symbol for the parent. Native children should be raised by Natives. It transcends, understanding, beliefs, religion.

  1. Amber Fry's Avatar Amber Fry

    Why is this even a question? I thought the Indigenous people have their own nation. Why would we be allowed to interfere in the first place? Let them be placed within their own nation.

  1. Jamal Randy Allen Rasheed's Avatar Jamal Randy Allen Rasheed

    Let me us not forget that in 1619 the same brainwash / whitewash process was used on Africans brought to America as slaves. They were stripped of culture, language, religion, name, and separated from families.

  1. Lady Celynia's Avatar Lady Celynia

    Only after every attempt to place the child with it's native culture should he/she be placed outside that culture.

  1. Vicki Kirsch's Avatar Vicki Kirsch

    Poverty in my opinion is not inferior inherently to affluence. The US and other colonizers have for instance replaced mudhuts with concrete block houses as superior. That I believe is a superiority complex. Poor people can have beautiful spiritual lives. My experience has often been that poor people have a more generous spirit. Also, I believe we do not have a God given Natural Law to criticize, condemn or judge others. In fact that goes against the Universal Law of Love. Christianity I believe introduced the Good Samaritan principle and many do not practice this.

  1. Kathy Beverlee Hall's Avatar Kathy Beverlee Hall

    Being an African America Chief, I was not excepted. Not, knowing who I was even being deprived of the studies of "Black American History" was very harmful to my Ancestor-ship lineage.

    Practicing the European culture and having there diet wasn't healthy for my skin tone. Because, I became very ill, and finally diagnosed with (S.L.E. Lupus). Which has the highest ratings in the indigenous communities. Because of the improper European diet fed to people of color, which usually does not agreed most immune system of the indigenous people. This is something I believe to be true, from being a survivor of "LUPUS" and having Native American blood in my DNA.

    I feel that the Indian Child should be aware of her traditions, foods to prepare and cultural beliefs. Because she needs to know: Who she is, Where she comes from and about her Ancestors. Let alone for the incurable disease (LUPUS) that has killed many indigenous people. This is very necessary to be upfront and honest to all involved.

    Reported by Lupus Fighters of America: "Nevada has over 13,500 living with Lupus and at least Five million people worldwide, that have a form of LUPUS".

    Why, deprive a innocence child of knowing her birthright. Perhaps, it will save her life one day. Which is the upmost reason to keep this (Indigenous Child) protected by the laws to have legal access of knowing about her birthright. But give her the right to choose, her own belief. Not, by anyone else who believes in practicing Christian beliefs or others!

    By: Chief YEYE LODO OSHUN of IFE Author & Publishing of: ChiOriPub4u.Info

  1. Rev. MichaelRS's Avatar Rev. MichaelRS

    This is just an extension of identity politics. The premise of which is "white man bad" and everybody of every race has to unite within their own tribe, (pardon the pun in this case) against them.

    If you follow this logic then it's wrong for white people to become Buddhist or any other religion that did not originate or was widely practiced by some Caucasian culture... such as the Pagan religions of Europe before Christianity arrived.

    Beyond that the premise would be that nobody should be allowed to practice any other religion other than what their forebearers practiced.

    I guess that means all the black Baptist in America are going to have to convert back to some pagan African faith.

    So what's next? Do we reinstate the laws against interracial marriage so as to not dilute the blood lines of future generations?

    1. Clyde's Avatar Clyde

      The sky is not falling, Your reading comprehension is suspect. Your waterfall of fallacies is embarrassing. Get real. Spoken like an evangelical Christian: Always looking for an excuse to colonize the “Heathens”.

      1. Rev. MichaelRS's Avatar Rev. MichaelRS

        It would help YOUR argument if you could tell me precisely where I was wrong.

        The premise of the article is because this child is of a certain race they need to put and kept in THAT box.

        What is happening here with this single adoption is far different than the mass abuse that was suffered with the so-called Indian Boarding Schools, which I naturally disapprove of.

    2. Tom's Avatar Tom

      You're making a false equivalence fallacy. An adult can choose to participate in their ancestral heritage and traditions or find a different set of traditions to follow.. A child would not be able to make that decision for themselves. By taking a Native American child out of their community you would be denying them the ability to experience their culture and you leave the door open for the systematic elimination of that culture. Additionally, the Indian Child Welfare Act holds that if a child who lands in the state foster care system is eligible for tribal membership, the child should be adopted by a tribal family whenever possible, the key words being whenever possible. The premise of the article is not that children of a specific race need to be "kept in THAT box" as you claim, nor does the article come to any conclusion towards a premise as it ends with the question, "Is it right or wrong for Native American children that are up for adoption to be taken away from their culture and religion?" You are surmising a premise that fits your own bias.

      1. Gerard J Babin's Avatar Gerard J Babin

        Well said. Some in the Government are still trying to erase the Native history from the books. Their history and sovereignty in this country is a hurdle against the absoluteness of the Government which has broken every treaty ever written in favor of Native Americans.

      2. Rev. MichaelRS's Avatar Rev. MichaelRS

        So (white) French babies should only be adopted by French people, or Germans by Germans or Irish by Irish and so on and so on and so forth?

        And no possible way that those white parents would expose that child and celebrate the culture of their blood? Although granted probably not encourage the pagan faith practices

        Speaking of... I guess there is no possibility that the child after being raised in a Christian home would later forsake that to take up the pagan Native American faith traditions. Because, you know, that kind of thing never happens. I'm sure there's nobody here that was raised in a Christian home that is now a Wiccan or Buddhist or Muslim or anything that's not a Christian.

        I know. How about if the the kid was adopted by a Native American family that were also Christians?Would that make everything all better for you?

        1. Marion Wolfe's Avatar Marion Wolfe

          It's interesting to see how determined you are to misinterpret both the details of the story above as well as Tom's comment. Isn't it embarrassing for you to put on such a naive facade like this?

          1. Rev. MichaelRS's Avatar Rev. MichaelRS

            Well, since you seem to be so well dialed in, why don't you clear it up for me and let me know what I miss interpreting because obviously, I don't think that's the case.

            I think this has nothing to do what is best for the child as much as it does have to do with the whole philosophy of "white man bad. Christians bad".

            So instead of these vague assertions of what I misinterpreting, how about some details?

            1. Marion Wolfe's Avatar Marion Wolfe

              You didn't answer my question but I take it from your response that you aren't embarrassed by your behavior.

              Anyway, I'm not here to give you a free education; I just wanted to gauge your level of self-awareness. Maybe someone more generous than me can help hold your hand through this.

        2. Tom's Avatar Tom

          If a French, German, or Irish child was up for adoption and there was an American family and a family from their own country wanting to adopt the child, they should be adopted by the family from their own culture.

          The issue isn't that a Christian family is adopting a child, it's that a Native American child would be removed from their culture despite members of their culture wanting to take the child in themselves.

          If there wasn't a tribe willing to take the child in then there's no problem here at all. In fact, that's exactly how this process currently works. This has nothing to do with "Christians bad" as you are trying to claim, or even "white man bad," despite the fact that it was the white man who stole the Native American's homeland. It has everything to do with keeping a culture alive that has long been threatened with extinction.

          1. Rev. MichaelRS's Avatar Rev. MichaelRS

            Well Invasion and stealing other people's lands is pretty much THE history of the world, not just North America.

            And the myth that Native Americans were simply all some peace-loving nature Spirit worshiping hunter-gatherers until the white man came along is ridiculous.

            How do you think the Iroquois Confederation was born? As they were expanding do you think the Iroquois simply set out teams of diplomats to the various other tribes to convince them through political means to join the confederation?

            No. They invaded, took their lands and absorbed the losing tribes into themselves.

            Unless of course your premise is such invasions or and theft is okay amongst most nearly the same racial and cultural groups.

            Oh, and just as a side note on another subject; The Atlantic slave trade could not be anywhere near as voluminous as it was if it was not for black Africans capturing other black Africans to sell to the European slavers. Many black African leaders of the time solved the problem of their neighboring enemies that way.

        3. Gregory Alan Richards's Avatar Gregory Alan Richards

          " How about if the kid was adopted by a Native American family that were also Christians?"

          They would still be exposed to their culture and traditions, assuming they were living on a reservation.
          I am part Delaware "Indian"; I was brought up Dutch Reformed. None of the Native American traditions were passed down, because of the church. I didn't find out about my Native American Heritage until I did the Family tree when I was in my 60's. I am so Angry about that. So, can you imagine how that child will feel towards her parents, when/if she finds out that they withheld her real heritage from her. I can since it happened to me.

  1. Troels Qvist's Avatar Troels Qvist

    Why not ? Please try being dumber nobody gets adopted unless it is out of necessity

  1. Angela Guyton-Cyril's Avatar Angela Guyton-Cyril

    This child is in the foster care system and should be adopted by the Navaho people. As a people we never had a choice of who we turned out to be and where we were to go. This law is put in place for a reason and why should white people have a preference over the Native community? Black people were separated also, and this was without a care in the world. Native Americans were killed without a care in the world. This child should know who he is and who his ancestry is and believe me... White people cannot teach him/her that culture. This has nothing to the church.

    1. Gary Bearman's Avatar Gary Bearman

      Per old treaties, it is up to the tribe to accept them or allow the adoption to go through. I agree that no person should be assimulated away from their culture and I took on oath as a foster parent to always help them and everyone else in the house to learn their culture.

  1. Ahmed Abduljabar Al-Hujazi's Avatar Ahmed Abduljabar Al-Hujazi

    My household is an ethnically mixed one: I'm Muslim Arab and my wife is Jewish. At the beginning of our relationship we discussed how the children would be raised. I contended that we would educate them in the traditions and ways of both Muslims and Jews, and when they were old enough to make a mature, educated decision, then we would respect their choice, and she agreed. My wife went first (someone had to) and we sent our son to a Jewish sunday school from 5 yrs old until he was 12, when he was given a barmitzva. Then it was my turn. My father agreed to teach his grandson about Islam and to provide Arabic lessons as well. This went on for several years until my son was nearing college age. He then came to me and said, "Dad I want to become a Muslim." I said that was fine, but why? I wanted to respect his decision, but I also want to make sure he knew about the commitment he was making, plus I knew his mom would grill him over the choice. He told me that he knew both side, but that Islam lined up with his own personal viewpoint of life and the world. While not pleased, his mom accepted the choice and he made the witnessing before the family. To this day, my wife is still pissed, but doesn't overtly show her displeasure. My point is that as long as the child is provided with good examples and information, they will ultimately have to make up their own minds. Now, how a white family from Texas is supposed to do that is beyond my expertise to advise.

    1. Gary Bearman's Avatar Gary Bearman

      In Judaism, religion is based on the mother. What's the rule with Islam? I don't feel that anybody should be "pissed" when he can clearly make his own decision.

  1. Roxie Rov's Avatar Roxie Rov

    I think this will have significant phycological repercussions on the child. At a certain point that child will find out they are different than their white evangelical family and that will raise a lot of questions. I'll assume this family will not go the distance to educate or immerse this child in/on their natural background, so they will probably end up having identity issues, self-esteem issues, and these things (in my experience) lead to addiction and a sorrowful life. I believe people are who they are, and to place them in an ostensibly different family (culturally) will force a life of "black sheep" on to them, and that is really awful I think.

  1. Russell J. Bonanno's Avatar Russell J. Bonanno

    I think there is some misinterpretation here. ICWA doesn’t prohibit Native American children from being placed with white parents at all. And it doesn’t say Native American children MUST be placed with the Tribe “no matter what.” Rather, it establishes the requirement that the Tribe must have the opportunity to determine if they have a family that desires and is able to care for the child and, if so, that they be giving preference in placement. It is not different from the requirement that “kin” receive preference over non-kin in child placement. It is not race-based, is not “Anti-Christian” or anti-anything.

    What happens when a child, whose biological family is Evangelical Christian, ends up in State custody and requires adoptive placement? Would you have the Courts ignore this child’s “culture” and place the child with a (name your favorite or least favorite religion here) family because they can “better provide” for the child? I suspect not. So why try to open that door because this involves a Native American child?

    The laws related to child welfare and placement generally, reasonably and purposely work to avoid the relative concept of “better” since comparing 2 families to determine who would be a “better” family for a child is inherently biased. Is it better for a child to receive more material goods than not? Is it better for a child to be raised in a particular neighborhood or community? Is it better for a child to be raised in a particular religion? The law avoids the need for such a relativistic determination.

  1. Leilani Abbey Mojarro's Avatar Leilani Abbey Mojarro

    Hello Everyone, This is a tough one; how to decide which upbringing will be better. I do not believe this is a religious nor racial issue, but a cultural one. I feel it would be wrong to remove the child from the native community. The child should be placed within the community of which that child was born into (by blood, ethnicity). Every person, by right of existing, should be able to grow up in their birthright community. Respectfully, Rev. Leilani

  1. Deborah Jean Howard's Avatar Deborah Jean Howard

    When a child is an orphan. And someone wants to adopt them. They need to understand that that child, needs to know its roots. Even if they believe in one way. They need to let their child also know their original routes.

  1. Mary's Avatar Mary

    I was adopted and before you make the biggest mistake of your lives you should consider raising that child within their own culture or you can roll the dice and see how it goes. It's tragic that people are even asking in this day of age and the judge who ignored advice needs to lose his job.

  1. Beth's Avatar Beth

    I'm of several minds on this subject.

    First, it is a recognized type of genocide to forcibly remove children from the society/culture/group they were born into and have them reared and taught the customs of the new society. This is especially true if they can identify what culture they were taken from and told that it is "bad" somehow. Depending on age and how much they understand of their original culture, this can be quite abusive and damaging to the child.

    Second, the well-being of the child must be considered foremost. As this child certainly needs parents who will love, nurture, provide for, the needs of the child, and this White Evangelical couple is able and willing to do that, that's foremost.

    Third, most often when a child is removed or orphaned, someone in that child's family will step up and offer to foster that child. In most states, such a person is entitled to the benefits given any other foster parent. They may choose and be able to adopt that child in some circumstances.Why was a foster family, if not a close relative, at least a tribe member who lived near where the child spent their first few years? Something about this does not make sense to me.

    Fourth, children are not property to be "owned". That child is no more the property of the tribe than they are the property of the Evangelical couple or DCFS. At the same time, the child is too young to be capable of making a decision of where they want to identify.

    Fifth, there is a sad history of religious groups taking Native children away from their tribe and family. While this does not appear to be a situation such as the orphanages of the past - and probably present to some degree - I do not think that is anyone's intention. Yet, history runs deep.

    Sixth, although the child's family and tribe object to the white family fostering or adopting the child, how is this substantially different than an evangelical family or church objecting when a child is removed from a family who may or may not be in their church, to be fostered or adopted by a same-sex couple? Most people, and the courts, have said that it's in the best interest of the child to have two loving parents, regardless of what somebody else - who is not able or willing to step up to the plate thinks.

  1. Gary Bearman's Avatar Gary Bearman

    My wife and I adopted a brother and sister which the tribe released their rights to us. They went to 12-15 POW-WOWS per year with full regalia. It was very important in their lives.

  1. Aqilah Jackson's Avatar Aqilah Jackson

    I am the granddaughter of residential school survivors, both of my mother's parents. When they left the residential school, they were several states away from their respective tribes, They no longer knew their languages, nothing of their cultures. They went as far south as they could get, changed their names and passed for white. They never went back to their reservations. All was good, I guess until my very native looking mother was born. Terrified that their native blood would be discovered, my mother was raised to believe that she had been adopted by this nice "white" couple. My mother was almost 40, when she found out her mother and father were really her mother and father. It crushed her to her very soul. She never spoke to them again. My mother never saw her reservation, only know what tribes she was from by the very little information she was told by her parents. Her parents names were not their original names so we can not trace them. They died from heartache and my mother died from heartbreak and I am left here not knowing my people, trying to fill in the gaps so that my children get to know who they are. At one point in my life, I held a lot of anger toward my grandparents until the first 218 souls were found buried under a residential school and I started to listen to the elders tell their stories. now I only hold respect for them. I can not fathom the amount of fear you would have to have to hide who you are, to not claim your own child, to live in that constant "what if they find out". My mother said she had lived in 15 states before she was 18 years old, all because of the horrors of kill the Indian save the man. Because of The US government and it's policies, I have limited knowledge of my people, my language, my culture, and myself.
    No white people should not be allowed to adopt Native children, or any children of color unless it is the absolute last resort. Stop using poverty as an excuse, honor your treaties. You "good" intentions should not cost us our heart and soul.

  1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

    Should they be placed in a Mormon family, which is also Christian by nature, or a JW family.

    Should they be placed in an Islamic cultured family, or a Hindu cultured family?

    I would say no, to any of them that doesn’t respect the right to teach and educate children the importance of freedom of thought. Children should be taught how to think, not what to think.


    1. Clyde's Avatar Clyde

      Comment removed by user.

    2. Clyde's Avatar Clyde

      Comment removed by user.

    3. Clyde's Avatar Clyde

      Comment removed by user.

    4. Rev. B's Avatar Rev. B

      Yes, but if we waited to adopt only to those who respect freedom of thought then those children would grow old in the orphanage.

  1. Pastor Jim's Avatar Pastor Jim

    Absolutely... we all are human beings and children of the universe before we evolve culturally, socially, and spiritually.

    1. Clyde's Avatar Clyde

      That’s a convenient old saw that needs sharpening. Parent/ family/clan/tribe/nation/ Indigenous, in that order. That is how adoption should take place. That is how culture, traditions, philosophies, religions, language and lore are preserved. To put a young human being in a different environment is intentional cultural genocide. The children of the universe phrase is frighteningly oppressive dislogic. We are not the same. We are not supposed to be. Isn’t that why God knocked down Babel?

      1. Pastor Jim's Avatar Pastor Jim

        "Cultural genocide", really?

        1. Karu's Avatar Karu

          Christians have a long history of abusing and murdering Native American children to “Kill the Indian and Save the Man.” That along with US government policies that prohibited speaking/teaching of languages, practice of ceremonies, and other cultural practices define “cultural genocide.”

  1. Catherine Ann McDonald's Avatar Catherine Ann McDonald

    If one can provide for the child’s first cultural supports, caring, understanding and unconditional love. I gave my half sister Inuit culture to her family where she would have all her needs and nurturing met.

  1. Stephen Mohlaloga Makgoathane's Avatar Stephen Mohlaloga Makgoathane

    Absolutely, with greatest pleasure. God of Heaven will rejoice to see HIS people of this Earth don't see racial color, but God's creations. Blacks and Whites all belong into the family of GOD. Absolutely nothing wrong in doing so. Let us Love each other, accept each other embrace each and become ONE. STEPHEN MOHLALOGA MAKGOATHANE

    1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

      But does your God exist? Does any God exist?


  1. James Riggle-Johnson's Avatar James Riggle-Johnson

    Of course... it's a loving family that wants a child.

  1. Laura S's Avatar Laura S

    Isn't this the case where the family already adopted the older brother and the birth mother wants the child to go to this family also, to keep the siblings together? I feel like this is a different circumstance than a white family randomly adopting a Navajo child.

  1. Robin Call's Avatar Robin Call

    A child should be adopted by whoever is a caring and loving family when a child reaches the age of 13, then the child should be able to make the choice if the child wants to learn about their cultural, heritage, and religion of their nationality. I think it is wrong to keep a child from being adopted because he/she were born a Native American. Why would you want to deprive a child of learning about other cultures by limiting their access to be adopted by other races or religions. It sounds kind of racist that only Native Americans can adopt Native Americans. After all, white children were being taken by Native Americans and raised in their culture according to history.

  1. Robin Call's Avatar Robin Call

    That is the problem with today’s world, everyone puts on too much emphasis on race, religion, nationality, gender, etc. to keep this country divided and keep the hate going…

  1. Michael Barton's Avatar Michael Barton

    Any race should be able to adopt any other race. It's an unconstitutional law because a tribe acts as a religion and therefore, the law cannot be in place.

  1. Thomas William Cornfield's Avatar Thomas William Cornfield


  1. Richard Lee Cornell's Avatar Richard Lee Cornell

    Why is religion always a factor when the mental health of a child is in question. Would not a place that is warm, happy and fruitful be better then as most American Indian tribes live in very poor conditions. The child will decide as an adult what religion if any to fellow.

    1. Aqilah Jackson's Avatar Aqilah Jackson

      It is not about religion. There are many Native American Christians. It is a question of culture and race. If there is a Native family or Tribe that can adopt, the child goes there, period. You do not know what it is like to grow up not knowing who you are and being "othered".

  1. Mary's Avatar Mary

    Dear ULC, Please make it an option to go in and edit your own comment thanks.

  1. Norman Gregory Adams's Avatar Norman Gregory Adams

    Culture, heritage is grown into, not born into. Yes children often grow up to look for their roots the same as some children look for their natural birth parents. As a child does grow and begins to learn culture and heritage more thought should be given to taking them from what they have learned. Yes I think we should have learned this by now with the way so many indigenous children reacted to being placed in Christian Schools. But this does bring in to light the fact: Should Christian, Jewish, Mormon, Baptist, Islamic children be placed in other religious. What about a child born into an Atheist home. This issue is far from simple and shouldn't be taken lightly or with a single point of view.. I do hope The Supreme Court does look at this closely and not just say my way or the highway.

    1. Aqilah Jackson's Avatar Aqilah Jackson

      This is not a question of religion but a question of culture and race.

  1. Karen Marie Palomo's Avatar Karen Marie Palomo

    The child should have the first say. If incapable; the closest living relative; if neither; the courts would have to.

  1. William Byron Gummow's Avatar William Byron Gummow

    Another divisive question. What about all the non-christian families that may want to adopt a Native American child? Will the question come up for each religious group or only christians? Nobody raised any questions when all the christian families were traveling to China, paying large sums to to buy children they brought to the USA.
    Then again, the question would have to be raised for every adoption are the adopting family and the child compatible in every way i.e. race, religion, ethnicity, etc, etc, etc.

    1. Tom's Avatar Tom

      The issue at hand is removing children from the Native American culture, a culture that has been decimated by colonialism. No one has issues with Christians adopting children from China because China is a sovereign nation who's culture isn't going to be eliminated by adopting some Chinese children. The Native American population, on the other hand, has seen numerous tribes fall out of existence because of the damage done to them by the colonizing Americans. Any non-Christian family that wanted to adopt a Native American child would have the same situation come up because it's not the Christian family adopting a child causing the issue, it's Native American children being removed from their culture when there's a Native American tribe willing to adopt the child.

  1. Minister Jeannine of the Church of the Free Spirit's Avatar Minister Jeannine of the Church of the Free Spirit

    Maybe we should start by defining what "the best care" means? Does it mean someone with lots of money can give the best care, whereas a poor family cannot, does it mean our religion is the best, how about the best care involves white Christian culture? Or some the trace and faith or culture? Does best mean we have a big home and green lawn and can buy you the best of things, the best schools, the best food, the best healthcare? Does it mean we will love you best? How is that measured? I think it is high time that the White Christians get their nose out of the business of the Native American tribes, haven't they done enough damage already to people "not like them" and continue to oppress, suppress and define other lives l and make laws to govern those who don't believe or "be" as they so desire? Even Christians and Pastors and all faiths do bad things and to children! There is a host of bad treatment of children by parents of all walks of life and by "our" systems! There is so much history that proves that beyond a doubt! Why doesn't Christianity spend more goodness and money at building up and repairing the damages that they have done to tribes and others by their "Godly" ways and insistence that others get in line with their wishes, and help them To care For their own better! Isn't that what Jesus would do? Let others live their cultures and lives, they are all children of God, what is about your minds that create this "best" what does that mean? Who are you to decide? Maybe all the white Folk should be adopted by the Native Americans so that they can learn "best" how to live in harmony with the living Planet! Why don't the Christian Evangelical fix the hundreds of years of oppression and discrimination and hate and the economic destruction that their insistence on their beliefs as the one and only, has caused for generations? Why don't they let others raise their own children and their families, as they would like. The same exactly as the white Christian right insist and make laws to insure for their own, and run roughshod over everyone else to insure their rights are sanctified and constitutionalized! Yet, they too have so many societal issues and they exert their rights even if it causes the deaths of millions of others! Christianity and the behaviors of so many Bible Thumping Christian's has turned me so far from the Church and their "God"! I think I have been "saved" by the seeing of mine eyes of how many of these "believing" folks really truly are, and I am convinced thoroughly that evil is alive and well in "the Church"! Even if they cloak it in "love"! Your religion does not air you a better person than another, or how you are as a person not a parent. Nor does it make you the morality police in what's best for the rest of the world. Hitler was religious and believed his way was "best" ! Religion can taint even the best! If a "religious family" can take a child away from another family because they assume they can "best" provide? Based on what? And who gets to decide what's "best" for who?

    1. Aqilah Jackson's Avatar Aqilah Jackson

      Well said. Please read my post.

  1. Minister Jeannine of the Church of the Free Spirit's Avatar Minister Jeannine of the Church of the Free Spirit

    Sure would like to be able to edit the mess that Smart lol, phone made to my post!!!

  1. John Patrick Kincart's Avatar John Patrick Kincart

    Love conquers all.

  1. William Vanderlans's Avatar William Vanderlans

    If an adopting native american family chose to practice christianity while raising the child within the tribe, would this still be an issue? If a Christian family adopting the child wanted to have ties to the native community so the child could learn about his/her heritage would that be agreeable? I think it has to be looked at on a case by case situation with priority given to the childs heritage and the childs welfare.

    1. Aqilah Jackson's Avatar Aqilah Jackson

      There are many Native Americans that are Christian. It would not be an issue.

  1. John P Maher's Avatar John P Maher


  1. Nancy Louise Havlovick's Avatar Nancy Louise Havlovick

    A four day foster placement turned into 6 years. He is playing video games right now in his bedroom with his white and native friends. He is 15 and has been in placement for 12 years. We're white and catholic, he is whatever he chooses. He sees his family frequently and we have always maintained an open door policy. He spends Christmas with his family, has drummed and danced traditionally. He's learned the language and we let him do what he wants in regards to serious decisions like culture and religion. He toured schools and actually chose a Catholic high school. Shocking, but he likes the small school, plays football and is planning his future. He is well rounded and knows who he is.

    1. Aqilah Jackson's Avatar Aqilah Jackson

      But you are the beautiful exception not the rule…!

    2. Aqilah Jackson's Avatar Aqilah Jackson

      But you are the beautiful exception not the rule…!

    3. Aqilah Jackson's Avatar Aqilah Jackson

      Comment removed by user.

  1. Donald Preston Gray's Avatar Donald Preston Gray

    This is complicated to me. All adoptions face the risk of the adoptee losing some or all of it's heritage. For example, a Baptist family adopts a child of a Catholic family. Doubtful the child will be exposed to Catholic customs and beliefs. No family of any ethnic background can adopt a child from another? What if a native American family with children decide not to embrace their heritage? Should they lose their children because they become Catholic? Taking it a step further, what about political beliefs? Democrat families cannot adopt Republican children? After all family political beliefs can be deep and go back generations. Not to dismiss the importance of cultural preservation but, what if that overshadows what ultimately is best for the child?

  1. Elissa Cullen's Avatar Elissa Cullen

    Who determines “better care”? As a former member of the evangelical cult for over 20 years, I can with experience say that this movement believes that their faith is the only true and correct path. They have no tolerance or acceptance of any other religions. Any follower who questions doctrine is treated as “one of little faith” and “controlled by satan”. A key doctrine is the oppression of women who are called “help meets” under the control of husbands and men in general. The truth that this system is a cult needs to be revealed. Would any other cult be allowed to adopt a child for indoctrination into an organization who would seek to strip them of their cultural and spiritual heritage?

  1. Tammy S Gardner's Avatar Tammy S Gardner

    Well, my father was native American. I am christian and was raised that way but also told of the native customs. I have adult children. Some of my grandchildren have been adopted out to "white" families. what we are upset about is that they did not ask any family members if they wanted them or even advise the family. The Cherokee nation was not contacted either. Also we are/were "NOT" living in very poor conditions. I have learned some about the foster system and there is a lot of money involved in everything they do. Everyone involved is making money so I was told by people who know the system. My children were raised christian and as far as I know had never done anything that would cause this. My son had a regular job. The wife stayed home with the children. I will also say I had half brothers and a sister who disappeared when I was a child. They had moved unknown to us. I spent years of my life looking for them. I had always felt something was missing. About 2 years ago I finally found my brother who is in his 70's now. Through him I connected with the rest of them. One of my brothers is deceased. He died before I found him again. I was very small when they moved but my sister and I always remembered them and looked for them. I always felt something was taken away from me. I still do. I know them now as adults but I missed out on so much. Do people really know what they are doing to these children when they pull them away from their roots? We were devastated for a very long time. Culturally taking the children and setting them in another culture could be like dropping an adult who does not speak any Spanish in the middle of Mexico and say sink or swim. I am sure the culture shock would set in very quickly when all you have known is gone and you understand nothing that is going on around you.

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