Massachusetts Appellate Court Holds Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Immune from Suit

Here are the materials in Haney v. Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Council (Mass. Ct. App.):

ICWA Case on Alleging Tribal Membership

The Massachusetts appellate court issued a decision in a case captioned In re Sabrina. The case is available on Westlaw at 2008 WL 597447. It is unpublished.
Here is a telling paragraph:

We have, however, a more fundamental reason why we are not prepared to have this case reopened on the issue, and that is the flimsiness of the factual showing regarding the father’s possible Native American ancestry. The only evidence on the subject is contained in an affidavit submitted by the father’s appellate counsel. The only relevant assertions are that “[i]n taking a history from [the father], I (the attorney) determined that [the father] is a Cherokee Native American, entitled to membership in said tribe through his paternal ancestors.” No other evidence, by the father or otherwise, was provided. We are thus left with an unsupported “determination” by counsel, plainly based on information provided by the father (which is not disclosed), and lacking any indication that counsel has the kind of expert credentials required to make such a judgment. We are not prepared to order the reopening of the record on such a showing.

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