Articles Posted in Native American Law

by
In this case brought against the Ute Indian Tribe, tribal officials, various companies owned by the tribal officials, oil and gas companies, and other companies, Plaintiff alleged that, through its ability to restrict the oil and gas industry’s access to the Uintah and Ouray Reservation, the tribe has held hostage the economy of the non-Indian population in the Uintah Basin. The district court dismissed Plaintiff's claims against all Defendants. The Supreme Court affirmed the dismissal of the Ute Indian Tribe under sovereign immunity and the dismissal of Newfield, LaRose Construction, and D. Ray C. Enterprises for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted but vacated the dismissal of the remaining defendants and remanded for further proceedings consistent with the tribal exhaustion doctrine, holding (1) the Ute Tribe is immune from suit, but the tribal officials were not protected by sovereign immunity in their individual capacities; (2) the district court erred in dismissing the case for failure to join and indispensable party; (3) the tribal exhaustion doctrine prevents Utah courts from reviewing the case at this time; and (4) certain defendants were entitled to dismissal for failure to state a claim, but the remaining defendants were not. View "Harvey v. Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah & Ouray Reservation" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the district court denying Birth Father’s motion to intervene in this contested adoption. Both Birth Father and Birth Mother were members of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, and their Child was an Indian child. Birth Mother executed a voluntary relinquishment of parental rights and consent to adoption and represented that her brother-in-law was the Child’s biological father. No Indian tribe received notice of the proceedings. The district court terminated Birth Mother’s parental rights and determined that the biological father was not a “parent” under the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). Birth Father later filed a motion to intervene in the proceedings in order to establish paternity. The court denied Birth Father’s motion to intervene on the basis that he was not a parent under either the ICWA or Utah’s adoption statutes. A majority of the court held that Birth Father was a “parent” under the ICWA and, as such, was entitled to participate in the proceedings below on remand. View "In re Adoption of B.B." on Justia Law

by
Upon adjudication of parental neglect, the Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS) took custody of L.O., a child and an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation, and placed L.O. with a foster family. After L.O.'s natural parents relinquished parental rights, L.O.'s foster family filed a petition for adoption. The Nation filed an objection to the adoption because DCFS failed to abide by the placement preferences contained in the Indian Child Welfare Act and moved the juvenile court to transfer jurisdiction to the Nation. The juvenile court denied the transfer motion. The Nation appealed, and the court of appeals dismissed the case. After the Supreme Court granted certiorari to consider two procedural questions raised by the Nation, the juvenile court granted the foster family's petition to adopt L.O. Filed with the adoption order was a document titled "Navajo Nation's Consent to Adoption." The Supreme Court declined to address the issues raised on certiorari and dismissed the petition for certiorari, holding that the Nation's consent to L.O.'s adoption placement rendered the procedural questions moot. View "Navajo Nation v. State " on Justia Law