The Law of American Indians Posts
A defending argument for the Indian Child Welfare Act was released last week with widespread support from 325 tribes, 57 organizations, 31 child welfare organizations and seven members of Congress.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard argument in its latest foray into Indian treaty interpretation, Herrera v. Wyoming. The case concerns the persistence of the Crow Tribe’s hunting right in the 1868 Second Treaty of Fort Laramie. In an occasionally meandering argument, the Supreme Court repeatedly circled the three issues at the core of the case: issue preclusion, the implications of the court’s holding in its 1999 decision in Minnesota v. Mille Lacs Band of Chippewa Indians, and the meaning of the treaty term “unoccupied.”
During its meeting in New York City on October 18 and 19, the ALI Council reviewed drafts for seven Institute projects. Drafts or portions of drafts for six projects received Council approval, subject to the meeting discussion and to the usual prerogative to make nonsubstantive editorial improvements.
A group of about 20 law students and Boulder area residents are being led to North Dakota over the next several days by the University of Colorado American Indian Law Clinic to ensure the votes of tribal reservation members are counted in Tuesday’s election.
The Indian Child Welfare Act was dealt a substantial blow on Friday, when a U.S. Federal Judge in the Northern District of Texas ruled the landmark legislation unconstitutional. According to the law, when a Native child is up for adoption, family members, other tribal members, and then other Native homes are to be prioritized for placement. Ample research shows that all children, Native and non-Native alike, have better outcomes when they are raised with family, extended family or in their community over state child welfare systems and foster homes. National child advocacy organizations have praised the act as a gold standard for child welfare. The act is often referred to by its acronym, ICWA.
Native American Youth: Involvement in Justice Systems and Information on Grants to Help Address Juvenile DelinquencyLauren Klosinski
Federal reports on Native American youth found challenges—such as poverty and exposure to violence—that can make them susceptible to being arrested, charged, or sentenced in the justice system.
On September 4, the Arizona Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Hopi Tribe v. Arizona Snowbowl Resort, et al., the Hopi Tribe’s public nuisance claim against Arizona Snowbowl’s snow making practices.
There’s a widespread notion that “tribal sovereignty” and “Indian treaties” are legal, historical, practical and correct terms. Actually, sovereignty is sovereignty, and treaties are treaties, nation to nation is between and among sovereigns; the use of “tribal” or “Indian” or any modifier is both misleading and belittling.
Last Friday, in an anticipated decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit decided a controversial case regarding the St. Regis Mohawk’s ability assert sovereign immunity in inter partes review proceedings. The Federal Circuit held that tribal sovereign immunity cannot be asserted in inter partes review proceedings.
All three branches of the federal government had a busy spring. The U.S. Supreme Court just completed its 2017 term in June with a full-strength bench after spending much of the previous term with only eight justices after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016. The vacancy during the 2016 term was prolonged when the Senate refused to consider President Obama’s nominee to replace Justice Scalia before the 2016 elections.