Articles Posted in Native American Law

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Mother voluntarily relinquished her parental rights to her two children in the district court. The district court ordered that the tribal social services have custody over the children. The tribal court then ordered the adoption of the children. Mother subsequently asked the state district court to set aside her relinquishment under the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). The district court denied Mother's petition. At issue on appeal was whether, under section 1919 of the ICWA, a tribal-state agreement respecting child custody proceedings may vest a Nevada district court with subject matter jurisdiction to take a relinquishment of parental rights under circumstances where section 1911(a) of the ICWA would otherwise lay exclusive jurisdiction with the tribal court. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the ICWA, in keeping with the fundamental principles of tribal autonomy, allows for tribal-state agreements for concurrent jurisdiction even when the tribe would have exclusive jurisdiction absent an agreement. View "In re S.M.M.D." on Justia Law