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Four Directions discusses ‘Baby Veronica’

by Jordan Barela


The custody battle of “Baby Veronica” was discussed by Four Directions, the Native American Studies student organization, Tuesday night.

Four Directions discussed the Supreme Court’s decision in a lecture led by Dr. Fred Knowles, the chair of Native American Studies and professor of criminal justice.

The case of Baby Veronica is a custody battle between her biological father, Dusten Brown, and her adoptive parents, Matt and Melanie Capobianco.

The Indian Child Welfare Act, established in 1978, keeps American Indian children in American Indian families. The law applies to any American Indian Child that is a member of or eligible to become a member of any federally recognized tribe.

The custody battle began four years ago, shortly after Veronica was placed for adoption.

Veronica lived with her adoptive family until she was 27 months old. Brown then gained custody of her because of the Indian Child Welfare Act.

A Supreme Court decision however finalized the Capobianco’s adoption earlier this year.

“The case is current, and it is very important in the context of Indian law,” Dr. Knowles said.

Monday, Veronica was taken back to South Carolina with her adoptive parents, and “baby” was dropped from her name upon turning four years old.

Pamela Johnson, President of Four Directions, weighed in on the importance of the case.

“This case is one of those cases that the majority of people do not hear about, and it is a pivotal case,” Johnson said. “Even though it has ended, I hope that it will show that there are injustices happening to minority groups that would not happen to the majority. “

Students who attended the lecture also weighed in.

“I do not agree with the decision, but the lecture gave me insight to the case,” Rachel Haskins, junior criminal justice major, said.

The lecture was held in the Powell Hall auditorium.

For more information on Four Directions, the organization can be contacted via phone at 229-333-5949 or via email at fourdirectionsvsu@outlook.com.

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