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Family Court discrimination

Dear Idle No More, We realize this may not be your stated mission but my boyfriend, Walter Fox Tree and I are fervently seeking assistance in publicizing a current case in Cheshire County (Keene, NH) Family Court. My boyfriend is Native American (Lokono) and submitted to the court to have long hair officially recognized as religious training (his 7 yr old son's mother recently cut off over a foot of the boy's hair against his and his son's wishes - the child's hair had been growing since birth). The child has been traumatized by this and said he doesn't feel like himself and doesn't like himself as much as he used to. The court had been dismissive of elevating "hair cutting" to a major decision requiring both parent's agreement despite the explanation of their Native American religious beliefs. In our motion for reconsideration, we had argued that: "According to the parenting plan, the parties have joint decision making. Joint Decision making includes, but is not limited to, decisions about the child’s education, non-emergency health and dental care, and RELIGIOUS TRAINING [ital. emphasis in original]. ...the Court wrongfully determined that the child’s hair was not related to Native American religious and cultural beliefs. While the matter of a child’s haircut might not ordinarily fall under joint decision-making, it does in the present case because the minor child’s haircut is a matter of religion and Native American culture. The Court attempts to justify its order by claiming that 'there is no specific provision in the Parenting Plan that elevates the issue of cutting the child’s hair to a major decision requiring concurrence.' The Court’s order wrongfully discriminates against [the Petitioner] by requiring him to articulate each and every religious activity. In the case of a Jewish parent, the decision to circumcise a child would not need to be specifically articulated in a parenting plan in order for that to be a major decision related to religion. The case law provided by [the Petitioner] coupled with his offer of proof regarding his beliefs are enough to show the link between the child’s hair and religion." He received news today that our motion for reconsideration has been "DENIED”. The court provided no explanation for its order. In her objection to this motion for reconsideration his son’s mother had argued that: "According to the Final Parenting Plan, the parties have joint decision making on major decisions. Haircuts are not major decisions in contemporary American culture." She also claimed in her objection that: "The child's hair length is not a matter of Native American religion and custom… and the Defendant never at any time agreed that their child would be raised 'as a Native American.' " This may go to the NH Supreme Court eventually and Walter is willing to speak out publicly on his fight for recognition and against discrimination. We are hopeful to get some contacts in this regard so we can continue this fight until the discrimination ends and this young child and his right to his heritage are protected. Thank you for any information or contact opportunities you can provide. There is a link below to our legal fundraising site which gives more information. Thank you for your consideration. Kind regards, Brenda Galenus & Walter Fox Tree