California COA Rejects Allottees’ Claim to Tax Exemption from Riverside County

Here is the unpublished opinion in Albrecht v. County of Riverside:


Opening Brief

County Brief

Coachella Water District Brief

Desert Water Agency Brief


Friday Job Announcements

Job vacancies are posted on Friday. Some announcements might still appear throughout the week. If you would like your Indian law job posted on Turtle Talk, please email

Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community

Tribal Court Solicitor. Provides legal review and advice to SRPMIC Court. Through legal expertise with Tribal laws, provides research for the Court, working to resolve legal issues as they arise. Ensures that applicable laws are followed so that tribal sovereignty is protect and enhanced. This position may be expected to work evenings and weekends as needed and is not subject to standard work schedule. The position will close on 9/16/2017.

Colorado River Indian Tribes

Deputy Attorney General (Civil) UPDATED 1/19/18. Provides legal representation to the Colorado River Indian Tribes, its Tribal Council, departments, and enterprises. The Office is a diverse and dynamic working environment.

Native American Disability Law Center

Attorney, Farmington or Gallup, N.M. Represents Native American children in state custody under the Indian Child Welfare Act. Also represents clients in administrative hearings, and tribal, state and federal court actions – with a focus on systemic change. Additionally, Attorneys work with tribal governments on legislation & policies effecting individuals with disabilities.

Pascua Yaqui Tribe

Assistant Attorney General. Tasked to provide non-partisan legal advice and act as in-house counsel for Tribal Council.  The Office of the Attorney General provides support to Tribal Council, Department Directors, Oversight Committees, and any other entities that Tribal Council shall authorize. For more information please contact Cecilia Damron or Ruben Valenzuela at (520) 883-5040.

Last Friday Job Announcement: 8/25/17

Arizona COA Holds ICWA Applies to Abandonment Proceedings

Here is the opinion in S.S. v. Stephanie H. (Ariz. Ct. App. — Div. 1).

An excerpt:

As Mother and the Tribes argue, ICWA’s plain language does not limit its scope to proceedings brought by state-licensed or public agencies. By its own terms, ICWA applies to any petition to terminate a parent’s rights. 25 U.S.C. § 1903(1)(ii) (“‘termination of parental rights’ . . . shall mean any action resulting in the termination of the parent-child relationship”). “Read naturally, the word ‘any’ has an expansive meaning, that is, ‘one or some indiscriminately of whatever kind.'” United States v. Gonzales, 520 U.S. 1, 5, 117 S. Ct. 1032, 137 L. Ed. 2d 132 (1997) (quoting Webster’s Third New International Dictionary 97 (1976)). It follows that Congress did not intend that ICWA would apply only to termination proceedings commenced by state-licensed or public agencies. See D.J. v. P.C., 36 P.3d 663, 673 (Alaska 2001) (“ICWA applies to termination proceedings when a party other than the state seeks the termination.”); In re N.B., 199 P.3d 16, 19 (Colo. App. 2007) (“ICWA’s plain language is not limited to action by a social services department.”); In re D.A.C., 933 P.2d 993, 1000-01 (Utah App. 1997) (ICWA applies to any proceeding in juvenile court with permanent consequences to the parent-child relationship).

The Court goes on to wrestle with the concept of active efforts in such a proceeding, an issue that was in play in a recent Washington Supreme Court case:

The children argue there are no services that can prevent a parent from abandoning a child. Cf.A.R.S. § 8-533(B)(8) (petition to sever parental rights based on out-of-home placement requires proof “that the agency responsible for the care of the child has made a diligent effort to provide appropriate reunification services”). But “active efforts,” particularly in the context of abandonment, will not always implicate formal public services. Under Arizona law, a parent abandons a child by failing “to provide reasonable support and to maintain regular contact with the child, including providing normal supervision.” A.R.S. § 8-531(1). Construing ICWA broadly to promote its stated purpose, we interpret the “active efforts” requirement of § 1912(d) in an abandonment proceeding to include informal private initiatives [*12]  aimed at promoting contact by a parent with the child and encouraging that parent to embrace his or her responsibility to support and supervise the child. See In re C.A.V., 787 N.W.2d at 103 (mother met “active efforts” requirement by “facilitating visits before [father’s] incarceration and by inviting continued contact during his prison stay”).

P23 In the abstract, “active efforts” to prevent a parent from abandoning a child might include, inter alia, informing the parent about the child’s educational progress and interests; sending the parent photographs of the child; keeping the parent informed of irregular but significant expenses, such as medical expenses, to which the parent would be expected to contribute; and, where appropriate, inviting the parent to school and extracurricular events and allowing the child to accept communications from the parent. See, e.g., In re N.B., 199 P.3d at 25 (“[D]espite its finding of abandonment, the trial court also found that stepmother could have engaged in active efforts to provide remedial services and rehabilitative programs by informing the child of the identity of his biological mother and seeking to preserve the relationship between them by showing the child pictures of her.”).


Finally, the Arizona court flatly rejected an equal protection argument:

Without [*15]  citation to authority, the children finally argue that application of ICWA to Father’s petition violates their constitutional rights to equal protection, based on their “race and tribal affiliation.” We join the several other courts that have concluded that the additional requirements ICWA imposes on severance of a parent’s rights to an Indian child are based not on race, but on Indians’ political status and tribal sovereignty, and that those requirements are rationally related to the federal government’s desire to protect the integrity of Indian families and tribes. See, e.g., In re N.B., 199 P.3d at 22-23 (citing cases).

Federal Court Affirms BIA Effort to Evict Non-Indian Leaseholder at CRIT

Here are the materials in Tuttle v. Jewell (D.D.C.):

24-1 Tuttle Motion for Summary J

27 US Cross-Motion

29 US Motion to Strike Tuttle Motion

33 Tuttle Reply

34 Tuttle Opposition to Motion to Strike

36 US Reply

37 US Reply in Support of Motion to Strike

45 DCT Order

An excerpt:

Plaintiff William Tuttle leased restricted Indian land in Riverside County, California, for a term of 50 years. The land is owned by the United States in trust for the Colorado River Indian Tribes. In 2010, the Bureau of Indian Affairs terminated the lease, finding that Mr. Tuttle had violated several of its provisions. The termination decision was affirmed by the Interior Board of Indian Appeals. The Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Interior Board of Indian Appeals are constituent agencies of the Department of Interior. Plaintiff sued the Secretary of the Interior, in her official capacity, complaining that the agency’s decision to terminate was arbitrary and capricious, in violation of both the Indian Long-Term Leasing Act and the terms of the Lease itself. Having reviewed the entire administrative record, the Court concludes that the agency acted reasonably on the record before it and within its authority. The Secretary’s motion for summary judgment will be granted.

46 DCT Order Granting Motion to Strike