Kelly Buffalo, an American Indian from the Meskwaki tribe, believes her newborn son will have a better future if he is adopted by a white Indiana couple. Some in her tribe disagree.But that's not the kicker. This is:
Shortly after Buffalo gave birth six weeks ago, tribal officials temporarily took custody of her son, asserting the tribe's privilege under state law to protect the cultural heritage of the child and the tribe.
On Tuesday, a tribal judge reversed its decision and granted full legal custody to the mother, who says she will continue pursuing adoption for her son, Braven. But the first step involves receiving consent from the Meskwaki Tribal Council.
Even though Buffalo is a tribal member, it's unlikely the child will ever be formally enrolled in the tribe because his father is white. And under tribal tradition, women alone cannot enroll their children in the tribe, she said.While I do agree that it's not a good idea to allow state and private adoption agencies from wrongfully taking away descendants of tribal members, I don't think forcing a mother to keep the child in the tribal community is appropriate. Let Ms. Buffalo decide what is best for her child; the tribal elders can certainly provide her counsel, but the decision is her's and her's alone.