Plaintiffs filed suit against the Department of Human Services, the local county and two tribal courts, contesting the tribal court’s jurisdiction over plaintiff Kimberly Watso’s child-custody proceedings for her children. Although Watso was not Native American, her children were through their fathers. The district court dismissed plaintiff’s complaint.
Where the Indian Child Welfare Act vested in the tribal courts exclusive jurisdiction in child-custody matters for tribal member children domiciled on a reservation, there was no need for a state court to conduct a hearing before transferring jurisdiction to the tribal courts.
Judgment is affirmed.
Watso v. Lourney (MLW No. 73577/Case No. 18-1723 – 6 pages) (U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit, Benton, J.) Appealed from U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota, Montgomery, J. (Erick G. Kaardal, of Minneapolis, MN for appellants) (James Robert Andreen, of Minneapolis, MN for appellee – Scott County; Richard Alan Duncan, of Minneapolis, MN for appellees Judge John Ernst Jacobson, in his official capacity and Tribal Court of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux (Dakota) Community. Aaron Winter of St. Paul, MN for Tony Lourey)