5b. Colonizing Native Americans

Were you previously familiar with the Indian Child Welfare Act?
-I heard a little about it about it years ago with a fellow Marine venting about how the Indians on his reservation were treated. He talked about how they had programs and laws to protect his people, yet the state always seems to contradict itself when disparities and the disenfranchised is brought up.

What did you think of the different interviewee perspectives in the video?
The video provides insight on how the media could interpret information from a different lens, doubting and questioning the perspective of cultural preservation and the relationship with child and parent. From my own perspective I see this as a GAP between the westernized perspective of what is best for the child and what is best for the people of tribe. As a child of this particular tribe, the Cherokee Nation I mean having the bloodline of the tribe is very significant. As a people that are a indigenous and a minority, the preservation of its people needs to be respected. It should not be up to the courts to alter the Indian Child Welfare Act. From a western perspective, we want the best for the child yet, what is the best for the child and who’s perspective should we use to decide this?

What do you think about the Supreme Court’s decision on Baby Veronica?
-I think one, it was recognized that the baby was a member of the indian tribe, court officials should have started defaulting to the Indian Child Welfare Act. Because policy was not followed, there were concerns of the childs mental development and wellbeing. The policy was created to protect a preserve disenfranchised peoples, and this case did not follow the spirit of the law.
This case went longer then it needed to be. Especially since the father was a registered member of the Cherokee Tribe. The determination and reconsideration of this case definitely puts strain on all parties and risks the development of the child because of the lack of cultural competence and policy understanding.

How does colonization play into this case and eventual decision?
-due to colonization there is imposed wills and political agendas. Because of this there is limited of a lack of cultural sensitivity to an indigenous belief and way of life. In addition to what he perspective from the colonized lens from the lens of an indigenous person(s). The decision did allow a people to thrive, but it did cause a people to suffer from western ideology and ignorance to cultural sensitive issue.

I apologize for the tardiness of this assignment, I was in the woods of Philadelphia helping heal with a bunch of Veterans.

Join the Conversation


  1. Hi Raymond,
    I typed a whole comment and then it was thrown out because I forgot to put my email/name below. I will try to reproduce it here.

    What struck me was that due to citing the ICWA, it became politicized. That’s not surprising, but I suspect that if he went on purely a genetic, blood relation basis I think he would have gotten this girl (who looks so much like him) back. I think the fact that it was politicized and about Native American rights, which brings up the ire of so many white Americans and the government itself, it was fought against with so much ardor.

    I also wanted to say that I think the Veterans are so lucky to have you, with your self-awareness, leadership qualities, compassionate desire to serve, and your own experience. Good luck to you in all that you do!


  2. Shino,
    As always, thank you for all you do for the Veteran community, that is definitely a population that needs healing ♥

    I agree that there is a definite difference/gap in what the western perspective defines as “what’s best for the child” and what an indigenous definition is.

    You said “the policy was created to protect and preserve disenfranchised peoples, and this case did not follow the spirit of the law,” I wonder why the ruling went against the policy in place, and also wonder on what grounds they felt was strong enough to do so. You mention that colonizers impose their will and political agendas, I wonder if that’s why the ruling went the way it did, and then I wonder what the agenda really is?!?

    You mentioned that because of will and political agenda there is a lack of cultural sensitivity to an indigenous belief and way of life; this is GOLD, it’s sad but true.



  3. Hafa Adai Ray!

    Awesome to hear you were in the woods healing with veterans 🙂 I am sure you bring a lot of insight and you take away a lot from it. I agree with you on about how the ICWA was a policy “created to protect a preserve disenfranchised peoples, and this case did not follow the spirit of the law.” I also felt that a tool mean to help disenfranchise people was the very same tool that gave leverage to furthering their subjugation. You also posed the same question I had which was “who’s perspective should we use to decide” what is in the best interest of Baby Veronica. I think this is a very important question to realize and explore.

    Thank you for your post and stay safe in your travels!
    Sar ginen Guåhan


  4. You certainly got th point of the readings and this week’s class. Who’s perspective are we taking as far as best interest of the child? What does that look like and through who’s lens? Also, I appreciate you getting this work in from the woods and I am very proud of your work with veterans. Thanks for doing this work! Mike


  5. Hi Ray,

    I agree with you regarding the lack of sensitivity within this case, and unfortunately justice system. Personally, I have seen justice system fails people and I hate to admt but this happened to me personally in Guam. I hope that in the future this is changed for the better. This is really sad case. I really for this particular reading. My heart goes out to all who’s involve… Baby V who was not given the chance to learn and experience her own heritage, the father who was deprived of being a father to his daughter, as well as the foster parents who had loved this child and was wiling to fight for the feeling of “betterment” of the child. But who gets to really say what is best for the child? Who knows what is going to happen to this child.. I am glad to have learn about.

    Glad you had a safe trip and thank you for what you do to work with the veterans.



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