California COA Decides ICWA-Related Appeal Involving Cherokee/Choctaw Freedmen Descendants

The opinion in In re D.N. is here.

An excerpt:

The “by blood” requirement in the Choctaw Nation‟s Constitution, as well as others, has been interpreted as excluding the descendants of freedmen. (Allen v. Tribal Council (2006) 9 Okla. Trib. 255.) The exclusion of the descendants of former slaves of the Five Civilized Tribes is a matter of ongoing controversy. (See, e.g., Cherokee Nation v. Nash (N.D.Okla. 2010) 724 F.Supp.2d 1159.) It cannot be addressed in this dependency proceeding since membership criteria are the tribe‟s prerogative, and its determination of a child‟s eligibility for membership is conclusive for purposes of ICWA. (44 Fed.Reg. 67584, 67586 (Nov. 26, 1979); § 224.3, subd. (e)(1); In re Jack C., III (2011) 192 Cal.App.4th 967, 978.)

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