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State of Alaska v. Native Village of Tanana: Enhancing Tribal Power by Affirming Concurrent Tribal Jurisdiction to Initiate ICWA Defined Child Custody Proceedings, Both Inside and Outside of Indian Country

Abstract

This Article provides an overview of the significant cases that have defined state-tribal relations in Alaska as related to Indian child proceedings and further discusses various policies that have been implemented over time. After outlining these cases and shifting policies, the Article examines the current state of the law in Alaska with a focus on State v. Native Village of Tanana, which clarified confusion regarding the inherent jurisdiction held by federally recognized Alaska Native tribes to initiate the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA)-defined child custody proceedings. Finally, the Article discusses those jurisdictional questions left unresolved by Tanana to be decided at a later time under specific factual circumstances

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