Race, Culture, and Adoption: Lessons from Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians v. Holyfield

Columbia Journal of Gender and Law, Vol. 17, No. 1, 2008

Seton Hall Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2010-30

44 Pages Posted: 24 Mar 2011 Last revised: 27 May 2015

Solangel Maldonado

Seton Hall University - School of Law

Date Written: January 1, 2008

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Maldonado, Solangel, Race, Culture, and Adoption: Lessons from Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians v. Holyfield (January 1, 2008). Seton Hall Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2010-30. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1789891

Solangel Maldonado (Contact Author)

Seton Hall University - School of Law ( email )

One Newark Center
Newark, NJ 07102-5210
United States
973-642-8830 (Phone)
973-642-8194 (Fax)

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