Transfer to Tribal Court Case out of the Arizona Court of Appeals


This decision from last Thursday highlights the 1911(b) explicit transfer provision, which allows for foster care and termination proceedings to be transferred, but is silent on pre-adoptive or adoptive proceedings. The final footnote may provide some guidance in the future:

18  Because the Community sought transfer of jurisdiction only under the authority of 25 U.S.C. § 1911(b), we do not analyze or address the propriety of such a motion under any other authority. See In re Welfare of the Child of R.S. & L.S., 805 N.W.2d at 57 (Dietzen, J., concurring) (“The court’s consideration of those issues is dictum and not binding on the
court.”). See also 2016 BIA Final Rule, 81 Fed. Reg. 38822, J(1), Response to Comment (“Parties may request transfer of preadoptive and adoptive placement proceedings, but the standards for addressing such motions are not dictated by ICWA or these regulations. Tribes possess inherent jurisdiction over domestic relations, including the welfare of child citizens of the Tribe, even beyond that authority confirmed in ICWA. . . . Thus, it may be appropriate to transfer preadoptive and adoptive proceedings involving children residing outside of a reservation to Tribal jurisdiction in particular circumstances.” (citations omitted)); 25 U.S.C. § 1902 (providing a Congressional declaration of policy stating that ICWA establishes “minimum Federal standards for the removal of Indian children from their families and the placement of such children in foster or adoptive homes which will reflect the unique values of Indian culture”).

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