Utah Federal Court Invalidates Adoption of Cherokee Child for Violation of ICWA

Here is the unpublished, so far, opinion in the Matter of C.D.K. (D. Utah): In re CDK DCT Order

An excerpt:

The Court notes with some frustration that Petitioner or Intervenor could have greatly simplified the present inquiry by providing, at any point, documentary evidence that J.G.’s and E.G.’s mothers were original enrollees, listed as members of the Cherokee Nation on the Dawes Rolls. However, there is indirect evidence that J.G. and E.G. were both full-blooded Cherokee, indicating that their mothers would have been eligible for enrollment at the time that the Dawes Rolls were being compiled. The Court, therefore, finds that no reasonable factfinder could conclude that C.D.K. is anything other than a direct descendant of an original enrollee of the Cherokee Nation and that C.D.K. was a member of the Cherokee Nation, pursuant to the Membership Act, at the time of the Relinquishment Hearing. Therefore, C.D.K. was an Indian Child and the procedural requirements of the ICWA are applicable to the Relinquishment Hearing. Because the parties agree that the procedural requirements of the ICWA were not fully complied with, the adoption of C.D.K. by Respondents must be invalidated, pursuant to 25 U.S.C. § 1914.