Lusty said she wasn't raised in a traditional Indian household and that she has spent many years as an adult trying to learn more about her own heritage and culture. She said she was raised by her father but her family “was always separated.”
“My dad and his uncle were raised together at Carter Seminary boarding school along with, like, four or five other brothers and sisters,” Lusty said. “I've never seen them.”
Lusty said she began researching her heritage and going to whatever meetings she could attend to make connections. She said she fears Baby Veronica will experience the same thing she has if the Capobiancos are given custody.
“When I was a kid I didn't care ... I was raised around white kids and Mexican kids,” she said. “And then I grew up and started realizing, ‘I'm Indian. I'm different.'”
Adams-Cornell said stories like Lusty's are not uncommon among Indians, especially those adopted by non-Indian parents.
“We found over and over ... these children were looking for their culture ... they're trying to get back and find their families,” Adams-Cornell said. “They felt a hole.”
As it stands now, Brown has custody of his daughter — but that status is anything but secure.
Brown has an arrest warrant out of South Carolina for ignoring a judge's order to return the child to the Capobiancos.
Gov. Mary Fallin has said she will not act on the warrant until Brown is given the chance to fight extradition. He has a hearing Sept. 12 in Sequoyah County.
Fallin said that she wants the two sides to work things out and find the best solution for the child. But the governor acknowledged that finding such a compromise will be difficult.
Brown and the Capobiancos both were in state and tribal courts Friday, but the proceedings were not publicly discussed due to a gag order.
“To be clear, the legal system cannot deliver a happy ending in this case,” Fallin said in a prepared statement. “Only Mr. Brown and the Capobianco family can do that.”
Contributing: Tulsa World Staff Writer Michael Overall