Rock Your Mocs — August 16, 2018 — Historic Fort Wayne (Detroit)

Here (pdf):


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

Ninth Circuit Rejects Treaty Defense in United States v. King Mountain Tobacco (Nos. 14-36055, 16-35607)

Here is the opinion.

An excerpt:

We affirm our longstanding rule that Indians—like all citizens—are subject to federal taxation unless expressly exempted by a treaty or congressional statute. Hoptowit, 709 F.2d at 566. In this case, neither the General Allotment Act nor the Treaty with the Yakamas expressly exempts King Mountain from the federal excise tax on manufactured tobacco products. King Mountain is therefore liable for payment of the tax and associated penalties and interest.

Briefs here.

The CA9 also rejected an appeal on a discovery issue in this matter (docket number 16-35956):

Memorandum Opinion

Briefs in that matter here.


Posted in Author: Matthew L.M. Fletcher, Research, taxation, treaty rights | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

American Indian Health and Family Services Community Announcements

Click here for announcements from August 10, 2018.

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Federal Court Dismisses Title VII Complaint against Salish Kootenai College

Here are the materials in McCoy v. Salish Kootenai College Inc. (D. Mont.):

13 Motion to Dismiss

22 Response to 13

25 Reply in Support of 13

28 CSKT Amicus Brief

33 American Indian Higher Education Consortium Amicus

37 DCT Order

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

Case Materials in Seneca Nation v. Andrew Cuomo, et. al. (W.D.N.Y) [New York Thruway Easement]


Doc. 1_Complaint (04.11.18)

Doc. 16 and 16-1_Defs’ Motion to Dismiss (06.05.18)

Doc. 22_Pltf’s Response in Opp to Defs MTD (08.10.18)

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

Update II in KBIC Suit against Michigan Treasury

Here are the newest materials in Keweenaw Bay Indian Community v. Khouri (W.D. Mich.):

152 state response to tribal motion for partial summary j

163 kbic reply in support of motion

200 motion for protective order

207 kbic response to 200

212 reply in support of 200

219 magistrate order re discovery

226 state motion for reconsideration of discovery order

235 kbic response to motion for reconsideration

240 magistrate order denying reconsideration

250 state notice of appeal re discovery order

Prior posts here.

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

Connecticut Appellate Court Quashes Third Party Discovery Request of Tribal Officials

Here is the opinion in Drabik v. Thomas:


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Montana Supreme Court ICWA Notice Case


¶28 In this case, CPS Lebrun’s testimony that an unidentified person orally confirmed that “they are not eligible, just they can only be descendent members” does not satisfy the Department’s ICWA burden. As a direct result of the Department’s failure to satisfy this burden—and likely assuming the Department had, prior to filing its Notice of No ICWA Involvement, followed up with formal inquiry with the Blackfeet Tribe as CPS Lebrun testified he would—the District Court proceeded to termination without conclusive determination from the Tribe. No documentation or testimony of an authorized tribal representative either dispelled or confirmed the District Court’s and Department’s belief that the children were not Indian children as defined by ICWA. Under the circumstances of this case, we hold the District Court erred by proceeding to terminate Mother’s rights to D.E. and A.E. without a conclusive tribal determination of their tribal membership status and eligibility.
¶29 Accordingly, we hold the District Court abused its discretion in terminating Mother’s parental rights without a conclusive tribal determination of tribal membership status and enrollment eligibility. We reverse and remand for an appropriate threshold determination of whether D.E. and A.E. are Indian children based on a conclusive tribal determination of tribal membership and eligibility in the Blackfeet Tribe. Further, if D.E. and A.E. are conclusively identified as Indian children subject to the requirements of ICWA, the District Court shall hold further proceedings as may be necessary to meet the evidentiary burdens of ICWA.


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

North Carolina “Reason to Know” ICWA Notice Case


*Whether the evidence presented at the adjudication hearing should have caused the trial court to have reason to know an “Indian child” may be involved and trigger the notice requirement is the issue before us. The federal regulations implementing ICWA and promulgated in 2016, clearly the states court has reason to know an “Indian child” is involved if: “Any participant in the proceeding, officer of the court involved in the proceeding, Indian Tribe, Indian organization, or agency informs the court that it has discovered information indicating that the child is an Indian child.” 25 C.F.R. § 23.107(c)(2) (2018).

The ICWA proscribes that once the court has reason to know the child could be an “Indian child,” but does not have conclusive evidence, the court should confirm and “work with all of the Tribes … to verify whether the child is in fact a member.” 25 C.F.R. § 23.107(b)(1). Federal law provides: “No foster care placement or termination of parental rights proceeding shall be held until at least ten days after receipt of notice by the parent or Indian custodian and the tribe or the Secretary[.]” 25 U.S.C. § 1912(a). Further, a court must “[t]reat the child as an Indian child, unless and until it is determined on the record that the child does not meet the definition of an ‘Indian child.’ ” 25 C.F.R. § 23.107(b)(2).

Other jurisdictions have recognized that “Indian child” status of the juvenile can only be decided by the tribe itself; therefore, only a suggestion that the child may be of Indian heritage is enough to invoke the notice requirements of the ICWA. In re Antoinette S., 104 Cal. App. 4th 1401, 1408, 129 Cal.Rptr.2d 15, 21 (2002). Additionally, ICWA provides that even after the completion of custody proceedings, if the provisions of ICWA were violated, “any parent or Indian custodian from whose custody such child was removed, and the Indian child’s tribe may petition any court of competent jurisdiction to invalidate such action.” 25 U.S.C. § 1914 (2012).

In In re A.R., the Respondent-father claimed that he had “a family connection to a registered Native American group” which consequently qualified his children for the protections under ICWA. In re A.R., 227 N.C. App. 518, 523, 742 S.E.2d 629, 633 (2013). . . . Further, this Court held that “[t]hough from the record before us we believe it unlikely that [the juveniles] are subject to the ICWA, we prefer to err on the side of caution by remanding for the trial court to … ensure that the ICWA notification requirements, if any, are addressed … since failure to comply could later invalidate the court’s actions.” Id.

In the case of In re C.P., the respondent-mother made the bare assertion that she and her children could possibly be eligible for membership with a band of Potawatomi Indians. In re C.P., 181 N.C. App. at 702, 641 S.E.2d at 16. The trial court required the ICWA notice to be sent. Id. When the time required under ICWA had passed without response from the tribe, the trial court allowed two continuances before determining ICWA did not apply and resumed the proceedings. Id. at 703, 641 S.E.2d at 16-17.


Our Court has required social service agencies to send notice to the claimed tribes rather than risk the trial court’s orders being voided in the future, when claims of Indian heritage arise, even where it may be unlikely the juvenile is an Indian child. See In re A.R., 227 N.C. App. at 524, 742 S.E.2d at 634; In re C.P., 181 N.C. App. at 702, 641 S.E.2d at 16.

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

LTBB Honors Former Appellate Justice Wenona Singel

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