Court rejects Navajo Nation in Indian Child Welfare Act dispute

In a unanimous decision on Tuesday, the Arizona Court of Appeals upheld the placement of a Navajo boy in a non-Indian family.

The Navajo Nation objected to the placement of the boy, identified as "Z" in a home with a non-Indian couple. But the court said there was "good cause" to deviate from the Indian Child Welfare Act.

"While the interest of the Nation and the Congressionally-presumed interest of Z. in maintaining his heritage weighed against a finding of good cause to deviate from ICWA’s preferences, on this record we cannot say the court erred in weighing all these interests," the decision stated.

According to the decision, the boy was "rescued" from the home of his parents more than two years ago. He was taken by a non-Indian couple who believed they were his aunt and uncle but genetic testing showed that the boy's alleged father was not the biological father.

The mother is a member of the Navajo Nation.

Get the Story:
Court OKs placement of Navajo boy with non-Indians (AP 8/29)

Arizona Appeals Court Decision:
Navajo Nation v. Arizona Department of Economic Security (August 28, 2012)

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