Latest News

Federal Court Issues ICWA Orders (Now With Teeth)

Federal District Court Judge Viken issued new orders on December 15th in the Oglala Sioux Tribe v. Flemming case (previously Oglala Sioux Tribe v. Van Hunnick).  The Court already found in favor of the Plaintiffs over a year and a half ago, but had not issued orders with any real teeth until now.  As such,…

We Should Be Ashamed

I was recently appointed to represent a young child who is the subject of an abuse and neglect case.  I went to visit with the child at her daycare, and was spontaneously commended by the daycare provider for coming to meet with the child.  She told me that she is also a foster parent and…

Final ICWA Regulations Published

The soon-to-be final version of the new ICWA regulations were published on June 8, 2016.  They will not officially take effect until December 12, 2016.  There is extensive commentary prior to the actual regulations in both of the versions linked below: Federal Register Version (actual rule starts at 81 Fed. Reg. 38864) Department of Interior…

$50,000 Stipulated Sanctions in Federal ICWA Case

Seventh Circuit Judge Jeff Davis, and presumably the South Dakota Attorney General’s office that now represents him, have stipulated to pay fifty thousand ($50,000!!!) in sanctions due to failing to produce requested discovery in the Oglala Sioux Tribe vs. Van Hunnik federal class action.  A pile of documents were unsealed earlier this month as a…

Update on ICWA Litigation from ICWA Defense Project

I have posted previously (here and here) about some ongoing ICWA litigation around the country.  The ICWA Defense Project has released a memorandum with updates on the latest procedural happenings in these cases.  It is recommended reading for anyone trying to keep up, and can be found at the following link: March 15, 2016 ICWA…

Motions to Reconsider Denied in Federal ICWA Case

The Federal Court has denied the motions to reconsider submitted by the Defendants in the Oglala Sioux Tribe v. Van Hunnik federal class action case.  The Court found most of the Defendants’ arguments to be either without any merit or duplicative of earlier arguments that were already rejected.  The Court’s Order is linked below: 2016_02_19…

DSS Sued by DOJ for Employment Discrimination

The United States Department of Justice has filed a federal lawsuit against the South Dakota Department of Social Services alleging employment discrimination against Native American job applicants.  You can view the DOJ press release here, and the federal court complaint here. The complaint alleges that the Pine Ridge DSS office hired less-qualified white people rather…

ICWA Cases Update

Since the BIA indicated its intention to publish new regulations regarding the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), there have been at least five lawsuits filed challenging various aspects of the federal Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), state versions of that law, or the new BIA Guidelines upon which the proposed regulations are based.  I previously…