PHOENIX — The state Supreme Court has denied review of a ruling that
allows the placement of a Navajo boy with a non-American Indian family.
Lower courts had found good cause to deviate from the Indian Child Welfare Act
that gives preference to tribal members as caretakers.
The child was a month old when relatives of the man once believed to be his
father took him in. The courts have said he would suffer severe distress if
removed from his setting. The family was certified to adopt the now 2-year-old
and pledged to expose him to Navajo culture.
Navajo officials argued that the culture must be learned in a Navajo home
through ceremonies and by being surrounded by the language. A tribal justice
official did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.