Michigan COA Decides ICWA Notice Case

Here is the opinion in In re BMH:

In re BMH

An excerpt:

At the April 27, 2012, continued Indian heritage hearing, respondent-father indicated, for the first time, that he believed he was a member of the Tuscarora Band of  Lewiston, New York. As the trial court noted below, the “Tuscarora Nation of New York” is listed among the federally recognized Indian tribes to which the ICWA applies. 75 FR 60810-01. Respondent-father’s sole basis for this belief was a letter that the Indian and Northern Affairs of Canada sent to respondent-father’s mother in 1992, confirming that she and respondent-father were members “of Tuscarora, Six Nations Band.” On appeal, respondent-father argues that this was sufficient indication that he was a member of the federally recognized Tuscarora Nation of New York and that the trial court should not have proceeded to the termination trial without first sending notice to the Tuscarora Nation of New York pursuant to the ICWA’s notice provision. We disagree. At this point in the proceedings, as discussed above, petitioners had presented the January 10, 2012, letter from the Six Nations Tribe confirming respondent-father’s membership with that tribe, and the trial court had heard extensive testimony that respondent-father was a member of the Six Nations Tribe and no other tribe. It was uncontroverted that the Six Nations Tribe was a Canadian tribe that was not recognized under the ICWA. The 1992 letter itself was from the Indian and Northern Affairs of Canada, which further evidenced that respondent-father was a member of a Canadian Indian tribe, rather than the federally recognized Tuscarora Nation of New York. In sum, Brown had already sent notice to the Bureau of Indian Affairs and various Indian tribes in compliance with the ICWA’s notice provision,2 and respondent-father did not present reliable information on which his purported membership with the Tuscarora Nation of New York might be based. Accordingly, the trial court did not fail to comply with the ICWA’s notice provision, 25 USC 1912(a), and did not err by finding that the ICWA did not apply to this case. See In re Morris, 491 Mich at 97.

This entry was posted in Author: Matthew L.M. Fletcher, ICWA, Research and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Michigan COA Decides ICWA Notice Case

  1. Pingback: Michigan COA Decides ICWA Notice Case | Round House Talk

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