Cherokee Nation

Guardianship of C.H.S., November 22, 2016, (Oklahoma)

Read the full copy of the decision at the National Indian Law Library website.

Synopsis from Westlaw: Cherokee Nation filed petition to transfer guardianship action regarding Indian children to Cherokee Nation District Court, to which children’s guardians objected. The District Court, Okfuskee County, Lawrence W. Parish, J., denied transfer. Cherokee Nation appealed.

Holding from Westlaw: The Court of Civil Appeals, Jane P. Wiseman, P.J., held that guardians failed to comply with notice and reunification requirements, and thus advanced stage of proceeding did not constitute good cause preventing transfer to tribal court.
Reversed and remanded with directions.

CASA Sets Fall Child Advocate Training (Oklahoma)

CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of Cherokee Country is a local volunteer program that recruits and trains community volunteers to serve as advocates for abused and neglected children in juvenile deprived proceedings, an volunteers are greatly needed….CASA volunteer child advocate training will be offered to individuals age 21 or older in October. Certification will be granted upon completion of the 30-hour training course and six hours of courtroom observation.

Visit the Muskogee Phoenix website for more information.

NSU gets $735,000 from National Child Welfare Workforce Institute

Northeastern State University is one of 11 universities nationwide to receive five-year funding of $735,000 through the National Child Welfare Workforce Institute, a service of the U.S. Children’s Bureau, a media release states.

NSU’s Department of Social Work and the Cherokee Nation Indian Child Welfare entered into a formal partnership that will assist in building a more effective and efficient bridge between both institutions that will support and enhance Cherokee Nation tribal child welfare services. This collaboration will include ongoing workforce training as well as a workforce entry and retention plan.

Read the full article at the Muskogee Phoenix website.

Veronica’s Birth Mom Drops Challenge to Indian Child Welfare Act

Baby Veronica’s birth mother has filed a voluntary dismissal of a federal lawsuit against the Cherokee Nation and the U.S. government, which requested that parts of the Indian Child Welfare Act be declared unconstitutional, attorneys in the case announced Tuesday.

Read the full article at the Tulsa World website and related articles at Indian Country Today Media NetworkTulsa’s Channel 8 website, Oklahoma’s News On Six website and Charleston’s ABC News 4 website.

Cherokee Strengthens Child Custody Laws, Giving Preference to Biological or Tribal Family

“Without a doubt our people, especially our youth, are the tribe’s most valuable asset,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker. “This new Cherokee Nation law will give our tribal sovereign government and our hard-working ICWA staff an additional tool to protect our people and ensure Cherokee children have the Cherokee Nation Sealopportunity to live in a loving and nurturing home that is culturally appropriate.”

Read more at the Indian Country Today Media Network website.

Attorneys for Cherokee Girl’s Adoptive Parents Seek $1 Million in Legal Fees

Attorneys for the adoptive parents of a 4-year-old girl caught up in a custody dispute have filed paperwork in Oklahoma seeking $1 million in legal fees from the Cherokee Nation and the girl’s biological father, who has dropped all legal claims to his daughter.

Attorneys representing Matt and Melanie Capobianco filed paperwork in Nowata County seeking the legal fees incurred while fighting the lengthy custody battle over 4-year-old Veronica.

Read the full article at Washington Post website.

Latest Media Coverage of “Baby Veronica” Case

Baby Veronica returned to adoptive parents (Washington Post, 9/24/2013)

‘Baby Veronica’ Handed Over To Adoptive Parents, Matt and Melanie Capobianco (Huffington Post, 9/24/2013)

Capobiancos returning to James Island with Veronica (, 9/24/2013)

“Baby Veronica” handed over to adoptive parents, Cherokee Nation confirms (CBS News, 9/24/2013)

Biological father Dusten Brown hands over Cherokee child ‘Baby Veronica’ to Capobiancos (, 9/24/2013)

Adoptive parents take custody of Veronica from biological father (Tulsa World, 9/24/2013)

Cherokee child handed over to adoptive parents (Kansas City Star, 9/23/2013)

UN Expert Urges Respect for the Rights of Cherokee Child in Custody Dispute

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, James Anaya, today called on the relevant state, federal and tribal authorities in the United States of America to take all necessary measures to ensure the wellbeing and human rights of ‘Veronica,’ an almost four year old Cherokee child at the center of a highly contentious custody dispute.

James Anaya
James Anaya

“Veronica’s human rights as a child and as member of the Cherokee Nation, an indigenous people, should be fully and adequately considered in the ongoing judicial and administrative proceedings that will determine her future upbringing,” Mr. Anaya stressed. “The individual and collective rights of all indigenous children, their families and indigenous peoples must be protected throughout the United States.”

Read more at the United Nations Human Rights website.

Latest Media Coverage of “Baby Veronica” Case

South Carolina governor comments on Baby Veronica (, 9/9/2013)

Father of Cherokee girl in middle of custody dispute files new appeal to Okla. Supreme Court (Washington Post, 9/6/2013)

Baby Veronica case: Dusten Brown files second appeal with state supreme court (Tulsa World, 9/6/2013)

In re Adoptive Couple of Baby Girl (“Baby Veronica”): Okla. Supreme Court grants stay to keep girl with biological dad (Family Law Prof Blog, 9/6/2013)

The Feminist Defense for Baby Veronica’s Dad and ICWA (Indian Country Today, 9/6/2013)

‘Baby Veronica’ birth father freed after surrendering (Reuters, 9/5/2013)

Dad of Cherokee girl at center of custody fight challenging extradition to face charges in SC (Washington Post, 9/5/2013)

Okla. Governor Signs Extradition Order; Dusten Brown Turns Himself In (Indian Country Today, 9/5/2013)

Okla. Court Puts Hold On Return Of ‘Baby Veronica’ To S.C. (NPR, 9/4/2013)

Experts see no end in sight for Okla. custody case (Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 9/4/2013)

Latest Media Coverage of “Baby Veronica” Case

Cherokees rally for Dusten Brown in Baby Veronica case (Tulsa World, 8/27/2013)

Veronica case: Motion filed to suspend visits from Capobiancos (Native Times, 8/27/2013)

Adoptive parents visit Baby Veronica, but future visits being challenged (Tulsa World, 8/26/2013)

‘Baby Girl’ Veronica Case: Lawyer Asks Judge To Suspend Adoptive Parents’ Visitation Rights (Huffington Post, 8/26/2013)

Toddler’s guardian says visits by adoptive parents should be suspended (UPI, 8/26/2013)

Judge recuses herself from Baby Veronica case, adoptive parents allowed to visit (KRMG, 8/26/2013)

Now court STOPS adoptive parents of tug-of-war Cherokee baby Veronica from seeing her (Daily Mail, 8/26/2013)

Baby Veronica case turning into battle over Indian Child Welfare Act (Tulsa World, 8/26/2013)

Lawyer asks court to prevent adoptive parents from visiting Cherokee girl in custody dispute (Washington Post, 8/26/2013)

Media Coverage of Veronica Case as SC Court Orders Immediate Transfer of Child

Baby Veronica’s biological family says their offer of shared custody was rejected (Tulsa World, 8/7/2013)

Veronica’s Oklahoma family on edge as South Carolina authorities consider custody action (The Post and Courier, 8/7/2013)

Baby Veronica’s family pins hopes on tribal, state courts (Tulsa World, 8/7/2013)

SC judge orders Cherokee girl at center of adoption dispute transferred from Oklahoma (Minneapolis Star Tribune, 8/7/2013)

Judge orders Veronica’s immediate transfer to Capobiancos (Cherokee Phoenix, 8/6/2013)

Baby Veronica’s biological family: Court fight will move to Oklahoma (Tulsa World, 8/6/2013)

South Carolina Judge Orders Immediate Transfer Of Baby Veronica (, 8/6/2013)

DOJ submits brief in support of Cherokee father in ICWA case (

As anticipated, the Department of Justice has filed an amicus brief in Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, an Indian Child Welfare Act case that’s before the U.S. Supreme Court. The brief supports Dusten Brown, a member of the Cherokee Nation whose rights are at issue in the case. Government attorneys urged the Supreme Court to affirm a South Carolina decision that prevented Brown’s biological daughter from being adopted by a non-Indian couple.

Read more and access the brief at