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Name: In re M.A.
Case #: C049810
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 03/09/2006

The Karuk Tribe’s Department of Child and Family Services petitioned the juvenile court for an order transferring the dependency proceeding concerning the minor from the juvenile court to the Karuk Tribal Court. The juvenile court granted the transfer petition. On appeal, the Department of Social Services contended that the tribe was not entitled to the transfer because the Secretary of the United States Department of the Interior had not approved the Tribal Court. The ICWA authorizes jurisdiction transfer to a tribal court regardless of whether a tribe complies with 25 USC Section 1918, which provides for approval by the Secretary of the Interior. The right to compel a transfer of off-reservation cases from state court to tribal court has not been lost through legislation, and the ICWA does not require the secretary’s approval.