Unpublished ICWA Case from MN, Judge Jesson Concurrence

Here. This is an unpublished termination of parental rights out of the Minnesota Court of Appeals. Here is the concurrence in its entirety::

With a backdrop of historical trauma and a high number of Indian children being removed from their families and tribes by nontribal agencies, Congress passed the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). See Miss. Band of Choctaw Indians v. Holyfield, 490 U.S. 30, 32-37, 109 S. Ct. 1597, 1599-1602 (1989) (detailing the background for ICWA). Government must meet a high bar to terminate a parent’s parental rights in any case. ICWA and the Minnesota Indian Family Preservation Act require an even higher standard to terminate parental rights to an Indian child: proof beyond a reasonable doubt that returning the children to the parent will likely result in serious emotional or physical harm to the child. 25 U.S.C. § 1912(f) (2016) (ICWA); Minn. Stat. § 260.771, subd. 6(a) (2016)

Scant attention was given to this high standard during trial. This is troubling. Only one witness was asked to opine on the ultimate question of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. And, as the majority points out, that witness equivocated. And even after this court remanded the case to the district court, asking the court to directly address this question, the district court did not elaborate on the critical issue. It simply amended the findings to state that “[c]ontinued custody of [the children] by [mother and father] is likely to result in serious emotional or physical damage to the Children.”

I expect more when it comes to termination of parental rights for Indian children. We all should.

Yet I concur with the majority’s decision despite my view that, based on the nature of the expert testimony, this is a close case. I concur because the majority is correct that when we dive deep into the record we see children who suffered serious emotional damage with no realistic path to a different future with their parents. I concur because the tribe was unwilling to accept a transfer of jurisdiction to tribal court. I concur because the tribe supports termination of parental rights. And, most fundamentally, I concur because these children, like all children, deserve a permanent home, without additional delay.

But I remain concerned. In a state in which out-of-home placement for Indian children far exceeds the percentage for any other group of children, we need greater diligence in adhering to the high standards dictated by ICWA and the Minnesota Indian Family Preservation Act.

 

Posted in Author: Kate E. Fort, Child Welfare, ICWA | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Ninth Circuit Affirms Existing Uranium Mine in Grand Canyon Protected Area

Here is the opinion in Havasupai Tribe v. Provencio.

Posted in Author: Matthew L.M. Fletcher, cultural resources, Environmental, Research | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Ninth Circuit Affirms Grand Canyon Lands Withdrawal from Uranium Mining

Here is the opinion in National Mining Association v. Zinke:

9th Cir. Opinion Affirming GC Withdrawal

Posted in Author: Matthew L.M. Fletcher, cultural resources, Environmental, Research | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

SCOTUS Denies Cert in Great Plains Lending & Quapaw Gaming Cases

Here is yesterday’s order list.

The materials in Great Plains Lending v. CFPB are here.

The materials in Kansas v. NIGC are here.

Posted in Author: Matthew L.M. Fletcher, Research, Supreme Court | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

North Dakota ICWA Case on Qualified Expert Witness

Here: Interest of K.S.D. and J.S.D., 2017 ND 289

The lack of qualified expert testimony on whether the continued custody of the child by the parent or Indian custodian is likely to result in serious emotional or physical damage to the child leaves this record without evidence necessary for the district court to find the State established the ICWA requirement by proof beyond a reasonable doubt. 25 U.S.C. There is a line of authority that upholds termination of parental rights absent an ICWA qualified expert witness. We choose to follow the other branch of authority because the United States Code and the United States Code of Federal Regulations require—and do not merely suggest—that a qualified expert witness testify on the ICWA requirements in all ICWA terminations.

 

(Unrelated, one has to love a Court that only allows opinions to be downloaded as WordPerfect documents. That’s commitment.)

Posted in Author: Kate E. Fort, Child Welfare, ICWA | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Sixth Circuit Briefs in Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe v. Blue Cross Blue Shield

Here:

Saginaw Chippewa Opening Brief

BCBS Brief

Reply Brief

Posted in Author: Matthew L.M. Fletcher, Michigan Indian, Research | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Tenth Circuit Briefs in Cherokee Nation v. Zinke (UKB Trust Acquisition)

Here they are (so far);

Federal Brief

Lower court materials in Cherokee Nation v. Jewell here.

Posted in Author: Matthew L.M. Fletcher, fee to trust, Research | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

SCOTUS Grants Cert in Upper Skagit In Rem Immunity Matter

Here is the order list from last Friday.

Here are the cert stage materials in Upper Skagit Indian Tribe v. Lundgren.

Lower court materials here.

Posted in Author: Matthew L.M. Fletcher, Research, sovereign immunity, Supreme Court | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Angelo Baca: “Bears Ears is Here to Stay”

In the New York Times, here.

Posted in Author: Matthew L.M. Fletcher, cultural resources, Environmental, News, Research | Tagged | Leave a comment

Friday Job Announcements

Job vacancies are posted on Friday. Some announcements might still appear throughout the week. If you would like your Indian law or leadership job posted on Turtle Talk, please email indigenous@law.msu.edu.

Senate Indian Affairs Committee

Policy Advisor/Counsel, Office of the Vice Chairman, Senator Tom Udall, Washington D.C. Covers legislative portfolio including economic development, law enforcement, energy, tax, and related issues impacting Indian Country. Additional duties include developing and executing legislative initiatives; monitoring legislative developments; conducting oversight; working with stakeholders; preparing materials for meetings, briefings, and hearings; and coordinating closely with senior staff and the Vice Chairman.  This position requires excellent communication, strong research and writing skills, as well as the ability to work well under pressure in a fast-paced environment.  Ideal candidate will have work experience in the legislative and/or executive branch, as well as extensive knowledge of, experience with, and/or contacts with Indian Country.  J.D. preferred but not required.  The Office is an equal employment opportunity employer and encourages individuals from all backgrounds to apply.  Please e-mail a cover letter and resume to SCIAresumes@indian.senate.gov.

U.S. Department of Justice

Task Force Member, Office on Violence Against Women, Washington D.C.  The U.S. Department of Justice is looking for tribal leaders to serve on a task force to advise us about research activities to help reduce violence against women in Indian country.  Task Force duties include:

  • Providing feedback on research and evaluation priorities, design strategies, protocol, and findings.
  • Assisting in disseminating results that influence policy and practice.
  • Drafting and reviewing reports and recommendations.

Members must be representatives of:

  • Tribal governments
  • National tribal domestic violence and sexual assault nonprofit organizations
  • National tribal organizations

Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe

Special Magistrate (RFQ), Onamia, M.N. Hears court cases specifically every Monday, except for designated holidays, beginning in January 2018 to September 2019. Cases heard are primarily family law, truancy, domestic abuse, harassment, criminal arraignments; however, there may be other case types added throughout the term of contract. Resumes are due by Friday, December 18, 2017 by the end of business.

Comanche Nation

Chief District Judge, Lawton, O.K. Conducts court proceedings and issues all orders and papers incident thereto, in order to administer justice in all matters within the jurisdiction of the Comanche Nation Court. Deadline for submission is December 19, 2017 at 4:00pm CST. Proposals should be submitted in PDF format via email: shannonn@comanchenation.com. Sealed proposals will be received in person at Comanche Nation Administration Building, 584 NW Bingo Rd., Lawton, OK 73502 Attention: Grants Department.

Associate District Judge(2), Lawton, O.K. Handles, presides over and adjudicates all criminal, civil, juvenile, and traffic cases and litigation as assigned by the Chief District Judge within the jurisdiction of the Comanche Nation Court. Deadline for submission is December 19, 2017 at 4:00pm CST. Proposals should be submitted in PDF format via email: shannonn@comanchenation.com. Sealed proposals will be received in person at Comanche Nation Administration Building, 584 NW Bingo Rd., Lawton, OK 73502 Attention: Grants Department.

Elk River Law Office, PLLP

Associate Attorney, Billings, M.T. The firm seeks an experienced associate attorney with three-years legal experience in a civil law firm including Federal Indian law.  Current and former judicial law clerks with experience in administration of civil cases are encouraged to apply. All applicants must be licensed to practice law in Montana, and must have strong research and writing skills. Competitive salary based upon experience. Please send a resume, cover letter and three references to: Georgette Boggio, P.O. Box 928, Billings, Montana 59103, or you can submit your information by e-mail to gboggio@elkriverlaw.com.  All applications are confidential.

Nevada Legal Services

Staff Attorney, Indian Law Project, Reno, N.V. Will be handling criminal defense cases in Tribal Courts in northern Nevada and will do some civil representation in Tribal Courts in northern Nevada. Our staff attorney’s salary begins at $42,154 and goes up based upon your experience. We provide medical, dental, and vision insurance and you may participate in the 403(b) TDA. A great deal of travel with some over-night stays is required in this position. If you are interested in the position, send a resume, writing sample, and list of three references to: Roberta O’Hara, Human Resources at rohara@nlslaw.net.

Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah

Legal Counsel(RFP), Cedar City, U.T. The Tribe is seeking proposals for general and/or special Legal Counsel Services from one or more firms or individuals who can demonstrate proficient expertise in Tribal Governance, Economic Development, and Tribal Employment as needed.

Claremont Graduate University

Native American Fellowship, Claremont, C.A. CGU has recently received a grant from the US Department of Education that will allow twelve Native Americans (in two cohorts of six each) to receive a 100% tuition fellowship and a living stipend ($1400/month for 15 months) to support their earning of a k-12 teaching California teaching credential and master’s of education from Claremont Graduate University.  Given that the first cohort will start classes in May 2018, recruitment has already begun. Contact either Rachel Camacho, Rachel.Camacho2@cgu.edu, or DeLacy Ganley, DeLacy.Ganley@cgu.edu, if you are interested or have questions.

Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

Attorney, Division of Commerce, Durant, O.K. Primarily responsible for negotiating, writing, reviewing, summarizing, researching and executing a wide variety of agreements for business and internal support units. This will include service agreements, franchise agreements, organizational documents, marketing agreements, license agreements, real estate leases, confidentiality agreements, construction contracts and other general business contracts. Manage an array of general contractual and legal matters. Offer sound legal advice and counsel to Sr. Legal Director and internal clients on strategies, actions and decisions related to all such transactions and legal matters.

Other jobs posted this week:

Indian Child Welfare Attorney(RFP)(2), Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa (12/4/17)

Probate/Estate Planning Attorney(RFP)(2), Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa (12/4/17)

Previous Friday Job Announcements12/1/17

Posted in Author: Sarah Donnelly, jobs | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment