TULSA, Oklahoma - The father of a Cherokee girl at the heart of a bitter custody battle released a statement to the media for the first time Thursday. 

Dusten Brown and his biological daughter, Veronica, were at the center of a cross-country custody fight that started in 2012. 

Brown is a Cherokee Nation citizen who used the Indian Child Welfare Act in an attempt to regain custody of his daughter, after a family in South Carolina adopted her. 

The Cherokee Assistant Attorney General read Brown's statement at a summit about giving tribes more input in Indian adoption cases.

"Nothing will ever replace her presence in our home. Veronica has a new little brother that we hope she will meet one day and have a relationship with," said Chrissi Nimmo 

Tribal rights supporters at the summit wore pink in honor of Veronica and all Cherokee children no longer living with Indian families.