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Name: In re O.C.
Case #: A147577
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 11/22/2016

Remand was required for compliance with ICWA when not all possible tribes were notified of dependency proceedings. At the start of the dependency action involving the minors, both mother and father claimed Native American ancestry. Father claimed eligibility in the Wailaki and Pomo tribes. He had been enrolled as a child in the Round Valley tribe. He thought his father was possibly a member of the Covelo tribe. The Department noticed the BIA, the Secretary of the Interior, and the Mohawk, Wailaki, and Round Valley tribes. It was undisputed that no Pomo Indian tribes or bands other than the Round Valley and Scotts Valley Bands were noticed. On appeal, parents argued that the parental rights termination order must be reversed because the trial court did not comply with ICWA by insuring that notices were sent to all of the tribes or bands of Pomo Indians, as required by In re J.T. (2007) 154 Cal.App.5th 986. The Department relied on In re Edward H. (2002) 100 Cal.App.4th 1, which held that notice to some but not all possible tribes does not violate the ICWA. The appellate court reversed and remanded for complete ICWA notice. State law mandates an affirmative and continuing duty to inquire about a child’s Indian status. Notice to the BIA is not an adequate substitute for inadequate notice to the tribes. Here, only two bands of Pomo Indians were notified of the proceedings despite there being 22 bands and Rancherias affiliated with the tribe. The trial court erred in failing to require notice to the remaining Pomo tribes.