Tenth Circuit Affirms Interior’s Decision to Acquire Trust Land for United Keetoowah Band

Here is the opinion in Cherokee Nation v. Bernhardt.







lower court materials here.


Cherokee En Banc Petition

Cherokee Motion to Stay

Interior Opposition

UKC Opposition

Michigan COA Decision on In re Morris

The Michigan Court of Appeals heard the ICWA notice case that the Michigan Supreme Court originally remanded back to Wayne County for notice. That case, In re Morris, details what is required of Michigan courts when notifying tribes of a potential ICWA case.

The decision is here. There is finally extensive detail on what DHS did or did not put in the notice to the three Cherokee tribes, something the Supreme Court demanded in Michigan ICWA cases.

Since respondent could not obtain any additional information regarding his relatives, it would be unreasonable to expect petitioner to find it. Imposing this burden on petitioner would also encourage parents, who can best research their own ancestry, to delay the proceedings by providing limited information. Because it would often take a long time to uncover ancestry details, a requirement that ICWA tribal notices include every detail of a child’s ancestry    would    undermine    ICWA ’ s    10-day    provision,    which    prevents    unreasonable    delays.    It would also jeopardize concepts of permanency and finality. The trial court did not err by finding that there was compliance with the ICWA’s notification requirements.

Proposed Casino Would Be South Carolina’s First

An excerpt from The Island Packet:

The gambling resort would be within Hilton Head Lakes, a residential development on U.S. 278 — 18 miles from Hilton Head Island and three miles from Exit 8 on I-95. The United Keetoowa Band of the Cherokee Indians in Tahlequah, Okla., would own it.

Jasper County and city of Hardeeville councils passed resolutions endorsing the project Thursday and asked the state and federal government for support. The local leaders hailed it as a boon to Lowcountry tourism that could help cure chronic unemployment.


Under the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, before a tribe can request that “off-reservation” land be taken into trust by the U.S. government for gaming purposes, the bureau must determine that doing so is in the tribe’s best interest and not detrimental to the surrounding community. The state’s governor must also agree.

“The governor has no intention of signing any memorandum of understanding that would enable casino gambling,” said Rob Godfrey, a spokesman for the first-term Republican.

Iowa Court of Appeals Decides ICWA Notice Case

Here is the opinion in In re L.B.-A.D.

An excerpt:

Under the circumstances presented, we find the State has proved by clear and convincing evidence grounds for termination under section 232.116(1)(h). Additionally, we find no error in the juvenile court’s determination that termination of the mother’s parental rights was in the best interests of the children. However, because we determine the court erred in failing to give proper notice to the tribes in which the children could be determined to be “Indian children,” we remand the matter to the juvenile court, which shall give notice of the termination proceedings to the appropriate Indian tribes. See R.E.K.F., 698 N.W.2d at 150. If the tribes fail to respond within the appropriate timeframe or reply and determine the children are not eligible for tribal membership, the juvenile court’s original order of termination will stand. If a tribe responds and intervenes, reversal of the termination and further proceedings consistent with the requirements of the Iowa ICWA will be necessary. We therefore affirm the juvenile court‟s termination ruling on this condition. We do not retain jurisdiction.

UKB v. HUD–10th Cir. Overturns Agency Interpretation of NAHASDA

The 10th Circuit found that the regulations used by HUD to deliver funds under NAHASDA did not conform to the clear intent of Congress.  Specifically, the United Keetoowah Band’s lack of court jurisdiction did not mean the tribe could not receive funding.

The absence of such a connection means that HUD’s imposition of the [section]1000.302 Formula Area court jurisdiction requirement as a threshold for need-based funding over the minimum allocation is contrary to Congress’s plainly expressed intent because it leads to funding allocations based on factors that do not reflect tribal housing needs. This conclusion finds no better illustration than the case at hand: the UKB’s need for housing assistance did not abate when HUD concluded that the UKB lacked the ability to claim court jurisdiction.