Abstract

In 2013 the US Supreme Court effectively granted custody of an almost four-year-old child to adoptive white parents over the opposition of her Cherokee birth father and the Cherokee Nation in Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl (the “Baby Veronica” case). This essay examines the Court ruling, and the protracted custody and jurisdictional struggles in its wake, in order to show how whiteness in the United States has been historically constituted not only as a form of property but also as the capacity to possess. Against the perspective that colonialism persists in the United States only insofar as indigeneity remains legible as racial difference, this essay focuses on how Adoptive Couple served as a means of reasserting white heteronormative rights to possess and to deny culpability for the ongoing conditions and consequences of colonization and multiple forms of racial violence in the present.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6490
Print ISSN
0003-0678
Pages
pp. 1077-1084
Launched on MUSE
2014-12-15
Open Access
No
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