Sunday, August 30, 2009

From BMD: Nebraska Supreme Court Affirms Tribal Rights

Cross-posted from my political blog, Blue Moose Democrat.

Great news from the Native American Rights Fund regrading tribal sovereignty and the Indian Child Welfare Act, one of the best pieces of legislation to come out of DC in recent decades. Gives me even more reason to look forward to next week's move to Omaha.

In a unanimous decision, the Nebraska Supreme Court reversed and remanded a decision by a Nebraska county court which had refused to allow the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska to intervene in a child custody case involving two children that are members of the Tribe. The Nebraska Supreme Court affirmed the absolute and unconditional right of an Indian tribe to intervene in a child custody proceeding under the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA)…

[NARF’s] amicus brief maintained that the Ponca Tribe has an absolute and unconditional federal right to intervene in the proceeding according the clear language of the ICWA and that the requirement that the Tribe be represented by a licensed attorney is preempted by the ICWA. Additionally, requiring a tribe to be represented by an attorney to intervene and participate in a state ICWA case would have a significant, detrimental effect on all tribes, including the infringement on tribal sovereignty… The Nebraska Supreme Court agreed with the Ponca Tribe and allowed the Tribe the right to intervene through its ICWA specialist, the Tribe’s designated representative.

[NARF] has published "A Practical Guide to the Indian Child Welfare Act." The Guide is intended to answer questions about the ICWA by people of all levels of familiarity with this important law, and to provide a comprehensive resource of information on the ICWA. The guide can be found on NARF’s website – www.narf.org.

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