Indian Child Welfare Act
4:28 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

Court Awards Custody Of Four Month-Old Absentee Shawnee Girl To Tribe

An Oklahoma judge has awarded custody of a four-month old Native American girl to the Absentee Shawnee Tribe following a South Carolina couple's attempt to adopt the infant.

Baby Girl
Baby Girl
Credit James Teo Photography / Flickr.com

Baby Desaray was born in May in Oklahoma. A couple in South Carolina who sought to adopt her returned with her to their home. But the infant's biological father is seeking custody. Because Desaray's biological mother is a tribal member, the Absentee Shawnee Tribe has stepped in and the tribe was awarded custody this week.

The Indian Child Welfare Act favors Native children living with other tribal members.

The case mirrors another ongoing dispute involving parents in Oklahoma and South Carolina. A Cherokee Nation member in Oklahoma has been battling a South Carolina couple over custody of 3-year-old Veronica for years.

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