Race, Culture, and Adoption: Lessons from Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians v. Holyfield
Seton Hall Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2010-30
44 Pages Posted: 24 Mar 2011 Last revised: 27 May 2015
Date Written: January 1, 2008
This Article uses the Supreme Court’s decision in Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians v. Holyfield to explore questions of racial and cultural identity and the meaning and role of race in adoption law. Based on interviews with the adoptive mother, her attorney, the children’s guardian ad litem, and the attorney for the tribe, it tells the story behind the case and examines how the Native-American birth mother’s decision to place her children with a Caucasian family pitted tribal interests against parents’ interests and, possibly, children’s best interests. The Article uses Holyfield and its progeny to analyze how societal and legal definitions of race are continually changing, especially in the context of transracial adoption.
Keywords: Choctaw Indians v. Holyfield, Racial, Cultural, Definitions of Race, Adoption
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