Minnesota Court of Appeals Decides ICWA Notice Appeal

Here is the unpublished opinion in In re Welfare of Child A.N.T. (Minn. App.):

In re ANT

An excerpt:

The district court properly inquired into whether ICWA applies here. After extensive testimony, the district court’s reopening of the ICWA issue, and dozens of tribal notifications, including one to the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs, no evidence was located to suggest that daughter is eligible for membership in any Indian tribe. Mother, through her mother, provided scant information pertaining only to practices and purported Native American heritage, but nothing concerning tribal membership or eligibility for membership. OCCS, despite extensive and documented efforts, was unable to verify that daughter is an Indian Child as defined by ICWA.
We have held that a district court does not err when it declines to apply ICWA where “there is no evidence that the children are eligible for membership in any Indian tribe.” In re Welfare of Children of M.L.A., 730 N.W.2d 54, 59 (Minn.App.2007). Further, in In re Matter of Baby Boy Doe, 849 P.2d 925, 931 (Idaho 1993), cert. denied 510 U.S. 860, 114 S.Ct. 173 (1993), the Idaho Supreme Court held that “[t]he party asserting the applicability of ICWA has the burden of producing the necessary evidence for the trial court to make” the determination of whether ICWA applies.
Mother failed to meet her burden of production concerning the application of ICWA. Therefore, the district court did not err in concluding that ICWA does not apply here.