Choctaw Nation shares its side of California child custody case

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DURANT, Okla. -- The Choctaw nation in Durant is speaking out about a child custody case in California that has been setting off people's emotions across the country.

The video of a girl named Lexi being removed from her foster parents, Rusty and Summer Page's home in California to live with extended family in Utah has gone viral, and a Choctaw Nation representative lays out her case that the tribe did what was in the best interest of the child.

"Our goal had been to get Lexi back with her family," Melissa Middleton, director of Indian Child Welfare for the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma said. She filed a brief in support of moving Lexi from her foster home. "We absolutely believe that her best placement is with her family, she needs to grow up and get to know her sisters," she said.

Middleton said the scene outside the Pages home on Monday was a media circus. "It was disgusting, an atrocity," she said. Middleton added that the media spin the Pages and their attorneys are putting out in public is one sided.

While Rusty Page says taking Lexi, "was an abuse of power by L.A. County, DCFS, the Choctaw Nation and Children's Law Center," Middleton contends that the Pages knew from the start that Lexi was supposed to be in the home temporarily.

Middleton added that Lexi's family in Utah had been in weekly contact with her for years.

Courts awarded custody of Lexi to her biological family on three different occasions, but the Pages kept appealing. "This trauma that it's caused this child is not the fault of anyone except the Pages," Middleton said.

In Durant, Marie Crawford is a mom who said her son is Choctaw. She said she sees how the culture is valuable. "Jobs would be available to her," Crawford said, speaking of Lexi, "But on the other hand she's a kid and has been with that family for so long."

Middleton said, "You want them (children) to grow up knowing their roots, their personal background."

The Choctaw Nation said now that the issue is settled, they ask the public to respect Lexi's privacy.

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