Groups Argue Over Effectiveness Of Indian Child Welfare Act - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

Baby Veronica Case Header

Groups Argue Over Effectiveness Of Indian Child Welfare Act

Posted: Updated:
Veronica's case is shining a spotlight on the ICWA, after she was adopted by Matt and Melanie Capobianco, a non-Indian couple who live in South Carolina. Veronica's case is shining a spotlight on the ICWA, after she was adopted by Matt and Melanie Capobianco, a non-Indian couple who live in South Carolina.
James Anaya is with the U.N.'s Human Rights Council. He said the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and Veronica's cultural heritage should be major factors in deciding who gets custody. James Anaya is with the U.N.'s Human Rights Council. He said the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and Veronica's cultural heritage should be major factors in deciding who gets custody.
Jessica Munday lives in South Carolina and acts as the Capobiancos' spokeswoman. She's also a founding member of a group called the Coalition for the Protection of Indian Children and Families. Jessica Munday lives in South Carolina and acts as the Capobiancos' spokeswoman. She's also a founding member of a group called the Coalition for the Protection of Indian Children and Families.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

Editors note: After this story originally aired, Jessica Munday asked News On 6 to clarify that she says she has not heard of a positive outcome from ICWA but is interested in learning about cases where ICWA played a positive role."

An expert with the United Nations is speaking out for Veronica, the little girl caught in a years-long custody battle between her adoptive parents in South Carolina and her biological father in Oklahoma.

James Anaya is with the U.N.'s Human Rights Council. He said the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and Veronica's cultural heritage should be major factors in deciding who gets custody. But a group with ties to Veronica's adoptive parents want it changed.

Veronica's case is shining a spotlight on the ICWA, after she was adopted by Matt and Melanie Capobianco, a non-Indian couple who live in South Carolina.

"Of course, the whole purpose and objective behind ICWA is to preserve the culture and traditions of a tribe," said attorney Joe Williams, a Mississippi Choctaw tribal member, who has worked on some ICWA cases. "There are times when it does work and that the child is maintained in the tribe and there are times when there are just legal fights."

9/9/2013 Related Story: Governors Of South Carolina, Oklahoma Discuss 'Baby Veronica' Case

Veronica's case is certainly one of those legal fights, and it's spurred a movement to change the law.

Jessica Munday lives in South Carolina and acts as the Capobiancos' spokeswoman. She's also a founding member of a group called the Coalition for the Protection of Indian Children and Families.

Another member of the coalition is Troy Dunn, known as "Troy the Locator."

The organization was founded after Munday met the Capobiancos, and its stated mission is to amend ICWA. The coalition has asked Congress to protect Native children who have been placed in a good home to give them the same rights as other American children.

Munday told us, "There are many other families and children out there being hurt by ICWA. We would welcome input from the tribes as to how positive change can come about. In the meantime, we can not ignore these families."

9/11/2013 Related Story: Court Rules Baby Desirai Must Be Returned To Oklahoma

Munday said she has never heard of a positive outcome coming from ICWA.

"Well, I would disagree with that," said Williams.

Williams admitted ICWA is not perfect, but said the whole point of the law is to allow Native American tribes the chance to look out for their own people.

He said Native American tribes have the right, like any other nation, to make their own decisions, especially when it comes to whether its children are allowed to be counted as citizens.

"That's not good for a tribe, because they rely on their membership base to continue to thrive, to continue to be a sovereign nation," Williams said.

Munday said her group has met with lawmakers in Washington about a half-dozen times to amend ICWA.

An Oregon-based organization called the National Indian Child Welfare Association said Munday's coalition is a repackaged group that has always been against tribal sovereignty.

Special Features

Community Calendar

Find out what's going on around town and submit events!

Share

See it! Shoot it! Send it! Share your weather pics and videos with NewsOn6.com!

iPhone App

Get breaking news, weather, sports & video directly on your iPhone.

Mobile Alerts

Get breaking news, headlines, weather alerts & more on your cell phone.

TV Schedule

Need to know what's on TV? Check out our television schedule.

Live Radar

WARN Interactive

Special Coverage

  • Bridge Tracker

    How safe are Oklahoma's bridges? Use Bridge Tracker to find out now.

  • Cold Case

    Join Lori and local homicide detectives as they search for Cold Case clues.

  • Fallen Heroes

    News On 6 honors our fallen Oklahoma heroes. View our interactive timeline.

  • Murrah Bombing Timeline

    Learn more about the events leading up to and following the bombing.

  • Storm Zone

    Watch tornadoes tear across Oklahoma and learn how to stay safe!

  • Turnpike Timelines

    View a historical road map of Oklahoma's turnpike system.

Powered by WorldNow
News On 6
303 N. Boston Ave.
Tulsa, OK 74103
TULSA'S OWN TM
GREEN COUNTRY'S OWN TM
Oklahoma's Own Newson6.com is proud to provide Oklahomans with timely and relevant news and information, sharing the stories, pictures and loves of Oklahomans across our great state including Tulsa's Own and Green Country's Own.
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014, WorldNow and KOTV. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.