Tribe’s Child Support Orders to be Recognized by State of Alaska

October 27, 2011

Tribe’s Child Support Orders to be Recognized by State of Alaska

On October 25, 2011, the Superior Court for the State of Alaska, First Judicial District at Juneau, issued a decision with significant implications for tribal courts throughout Alaska in Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska v. State of Alaska Child Support Services Division. The Court’s order reaffirms the Tribe’s inherent jurisdiction to handle the full range of family law issues affecting its citizens, including the particular issue of child support for the benefit of tribal children.


About Vince

I am a Tlingit, born and raised in Tlingit Country, and a proud member of the Tlingit Nation.
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4 Responses to Tribe’s Child Support Orders to be Recognized by State of Alaska

  1. Vince says:

    I’d prefer such “cases” were handled by the families’ respective clans. But until we have strong, intact clans that can handle dispute resolution, maintain public order, & manage resources, this is a good first step.

  2. Vince says:

    Ishmael Hope has once again offered his wisdom and moderation to me. I appreciate it, as it keeps my foaming at the mouth radicalism in check from time to time.

    He reminds me that our tribal courts were strongly influenced by our elders and traditional Tlingit values and customs. Both of our respective families have played a role in this victory.

    I imagine a strong clan would take informal steps in matters of child welfare before taking formal steps like taking the issue up with a tribal court. I’ve witnessed such steps myself in my own family. Things ranging from getting the parents back on track & supporting them all the way up to brokering a voluntary adoption within the extended family. If things get too intense, I can see how important it would be to have a formalized process to go through so the whole community can see the legitimacy of placing a child in a new home.


    • Thank you for sharing tribal court development news! FYI: Tlingit & Haida is in the process of expanding tribal court services to include family custody and domestic violence codes. We are in the process of interviewing clan elders to use their wisdom to incorporate into the laws that are being drafted. The goal is to proved a culturally appropriate forum for tribal members to obtain services, instead of having to resort to the anglo court system.

  3. Ishmael Hope says:

    In Judge James Bowen’s decision, Hepler v. Perkins with the Sitka Tribal Court, an Elders Council advised that a young person of a clan is always of that clan, and therefore, traditional law supports child custody in their home country. I hope we can continue work such as that– the clan is central to our Tlingit identity, as well as culture and language. Gunalchéesh.

    Ishmael Angalook Hope

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