Cherokee Nation, United Keetoowah Band sign agreement on foster, adoption cases involving Cherokee children

TAHLEQUAH – According to a June 9 press release, Cherokee Nation Attorney General Sara Hill announced that the United Keetoowah Band has dismissed its appeal in a case it filed, UKB v Barteaux, putting the legal challenge to rest. 

The case involved the adoption of a child enrolled with CN and UKB citizenship, the release states. It also states the Federal District Court in the Northern District of Oklahoma dismissed the UKB’s case.  

The UKB then appealed to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, but recently withdrew its appeal. 

“The court held that Cherokee Nation had properly exercised jurisdiction over child custody matters arising on the reservation involving Indian children,” Hill said. “The UKB dismissing its appeal closes the door on this challenge altogether, and I’m pleased that this child’s adoption will now be final.” 

According to the release, in foster care cases involving a child eligible as a CN citizen and UKB citizen but not yet enrolled in either tribe, the UKB will be notified, which CN law has long required and has been the standard operating procedure in the Nation’s court. 

The release states that Hill has entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with the UKB, which acknowledges the responsibility of the CN Attorney General’s Office, under CN law, to notify the UKB when a child who is eligible for both CN and UKB citizenship (but enrolled in neither tribe), is taken into custody by the CN District Court.