Cases involving child custody are always middle class morality plays. I am reminded of the time I had trouble getting a routine, uncontested step-parent adoption done in the county where I now reside, because one of my clients was a non-observant Jew and the other was an atheist and the judge demanded that the legally required social study be conducted by a Christian minister.
This middle class morality play is part of the reason that about a third of Indian children who fell into court-supervised custody situations used to wind up with non-Indian foster or adoptive parents. The more traditional the blood parents, the more likely this outcome, as we are by and large not monotheists or aggressive in pushing our beliefs on others.
Another part of the reason for non-Indian placements goes back to the longstanding governmental policy summarized in the remark attributed to Richard Henry Pratt, founder and superintendent of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School: “Kill the Indian in him to save the man.”
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