A 6-year-old child who is reportedly just one-and-a-half percent Choctaw Native American was forcibly removed from her longtime foster home on Monday due to a 1978 federal law mandating that “Indian children” be raised by Native Americans. Lexi’s foster parents, Summer and Rusty Page of Santa Clarita, California, who are white, have been fighting to keep Lexi in their home, but the Indian Child Welfare Act led authorities to seize the child, with plans to place her with relatives in Utah. Video from outside the Page home on Monday shows a chaotic scene during which the emotional family handed the little girl over to authorities, as reporters and protesters assembled en masse. “Our family is so incredibly devastated,” the Page family said in a statement released after Lexi was removed from the home. “Our hearts are broken and we are trying to make sense of everything that has happened with our three other children who witnessed their sister Lexi forcefully ripped away from our family by strangers.” The family continued, “But nobody could possibly be more devastated than our 6-year-old daughter who found herself restrained in a car and driven away to go and live in a foreign place hundreds of miles from her family, friends, teachers, home and life.”
A petition urging authorities to allow the child to remain with her foster parents has attracted nearly 52,900 signatures as of Tuesday morning, with a “Save Lexi” Facebook page attracting 14,600 members.