Abstract: Tribal sovereignty is a theory that has gainedcredibility over the past few decades, but one thatthe child welfare field has still not fully embraced.A mainstream reluctance to understand or acceptcustomary adoption, unique to tribal culture,illustrates the lack of credibility given to tribalchild welfare beliefs and practices. Roger Paul, amember of the Passamaquoddy and MaliseetTribes, was asked to discuss customary adoption.His wide-ranging narrative response illuminatespast abuses and current strengths of tribal childwelfare practice and belief. Two primary policyand practice implications emerge. They are(1) that cultural and institutional oppression continueto be embedded in current policy and practiceand continue to have a detrimental impact on tribal children, families, and communities and (2) that little recognition of or support for the child welfare structure exists in tribal communities, as exemplified by the Wabanaki experience. Child welfare practices embedded in traditional tribal social structure can be trusted and effective. The recognition and acceptance of these practices will expand permanency resources for American Indian/Alaskan Native children and will improve relationships between tribal, state, and federal child welfare systems. *This resource may require a fee to access the full text.

Author: Morrison, C., Fox, K., Cross, T., & Paul, R.
Date: 2010