Articles Posted in Native American Law

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Plaintiff, a non-Indian, filed a complaint in state district court against Defendants, enrolled members of the Northern Arapaho Tribe, for injuries sustained in a vehicle accident that occurred on a state highway within the boundaries of the Wind River Indian Reservation. Defendants moved for summary judgment, asserting (1) the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction, and (2) the two-year statute of limitations dictated by the Shoshone and Arapaho Law and Order Code should apply to bar Plaintiff’s action. The district court denied the motion, concluding (1) the court’s exercise of jurisdiction would not infringe on tribal sovereignty, and (2) the court had at a minimum concurrent jurisdiction over the action. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court (1) had subject matter jurisdiction over this action, and (2) properly concluded that Plaintiff’s action was timely filed under Wyoming’s four-year statute of limitations. View "C'hair v. Dist. Court" on Justia Law

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Appellant was the mother of LNP. After Grandparents took LNP into their care, they petitioned for temporary guardianship of LNP, which the district court granted. Grandparents subsequently moved to convert the temporary guardianship to a plenary guardianship. In response, Appellant filed a motion to terminate the temporary guardianship. Mother then filed a motion to vacate the temporary guardianship, alleging that LNP was an Indian child as defined by the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and that the court had failed to comply with the provisions of the ICWA in granting the temporary guardianship. After a hearing, the district court granted the guardianship petition and denied Appellant's request to terminate the guardianship. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that, in holding the hearing, district court (1) did not comply with the ICWA's ten-day notice requirement, but the error was harmless; (2) received testimony from a qualified expert witness as required by the ICWA; and (3) received clear and convincing evidence that showed LNP's return to Appellant would likely result in serious emotional or physical damage as required by the ICWA. View "In re Guardianship of LNP" on Justia Law