Gabe Galanda: Indian law needed on bar exams
"An Associated Press story ran the day after Christmas about Heather and Clint Larson, non-Indian Utah citizens, and Talon, the 6-month-old boy they adopted. “After a months-long court battle,” the story went, “the couple had to hand him over to representatives of the birth mother’s American Indian tribe, Minnesota’s Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, and watch him being driven away.

“It was horrific. We lost our child,” said Heather Larson.

“The wrenching, personal struggle for both sides has been complicated by a jurisdictional fight over who has the authority to decide what should happen to the boy.”

The story exemplifies why over the last several years New Mexico, Washington and South Dakota have begun to bar test federal Indian jurisdiction, including the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978.

In Washington, a resolution once signed by scores of Native and non-Native lawyers stated “the integrity and competence of the legal profession in this state would be enhanced if attorneys licensed by the (Washington State Bar Association) generally understood significant federal jurisdictional Indian principles. … such that every bar-licensed attorney will receive knowledge reasonably necessary for the representation and protection of all who are subject to Washington state law.”"

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Gabe Galanda: Indian law on the bar exam benefits everyone (Indian Country Today 2/6)