The Cherokee Conundrum: California Courts and the Indian Child Welfare Act
28 Pages Posted: 23 Apr 2009 Last revised: 24 Mar 2010
Date Written: April 20, 2009
This article was prepared for presentation at the American Indian Identity Conference held at Michigan State University, October 16-17, 2008. After classifying a year of Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) cases in state courts, it became apparent that California had both the highest number of ICWA cases and that most of these cases were because of noncompliance with the notice provision of ICWA. In addition, it became clear that the majority of California cases involved parents claiming Cherokee affiliation. This article concludes there could be many reasons for this, including an informal exercise of the Existing Indian Family doctrine at the social worker level.
Keywords: Indian Child Welfare Act, Cherokee Nation, Family Law
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