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Name: In re Cheyanne F.
Case #: E044339
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 07/06/2008
Summary

Omission of information concerning a child’s non-Indian relatives from ICWA notice did not require a reversal. In an appeal from a 366.26 hearing, the mother argued that the court’s ruling that ICWA did not apply was erroneous because the department failed to provide the tribe with the mother’s place of birth and the names of her parents and grandparents. (Mother had no known Indian ancestry; father claimed that he was a member of the Blackfeet tribe.) The mother contended that ICWA required strict compliance with notice provisions and that the notice was insufficient as a matter of law. The appellate court rejected the argument, finding any deficiency in the ICWA notice harmless. Where notice has been received by the tribe, errors or omissions in the notice are reviewed under the harmless error standard. The omission in this case was harmless. In the absence of any indication that information concerning mother’s family was relevant to the tribe’s inquiry, there was no basis upon which to conclude that the outcome would have been different had the department provided the missing information.