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25 U.S.C.A. § 1914

United States Code Annotated
Title 25.  Indians
Chapter 21. Indian Child Welfare (Refs & Annos)

Subchapter I. Child Custody Proceedings

§ 1914. Petition to court of competent jurisdiction to invalidate action upon showing of certain violations

Any Indian child who is the subject of any action for foster care placement or termination of parental rights under State law, any parent or Indian custodian from whose custody such child was removed, and the Indian child's tribe may petition any court of competent jurisdiction to invalidate such action upon a showing that such action violated any provision of sections 1911, 1912, and 1913 of this title.

CREDIT(S) (Pub.L. 95-608, Title I, § 104, Nov. 8, 1978, 92 Stat. 3072.)


Revision Notes and Legislative Reports

1978 Acts. House Report No. 95-1386, see 1978 U.S. Code Cong. and Adm. News, p. 7530.


Fighting over Indian children:  The uses and abuses of jurisdictional ambiguity.  Barbara Ann Atwood, 36 UCLA L.Rev. 1051 (1989).


American Digest System

Indians 6(2), 32(11).

Key Number System Topic No. 209.


ALR Library

89 ALR 5th 195, Construction and Application of Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (ICWA) (25 U.S.C.A. §§ 1901 et seq.) Upon Child Custody Determinations.


2 Am. Jur. 2d Adoption § 119, Requirements Under Indian Child Welfare Act.

Am. Jur. 2d Indians § 145, Generally; Tribe's Jurisdiction.

Treatises and Practice Aids

Federal Procedure, Lawyers Edition § 46:477, Standing to Invalidate Proceedings.


Abstention from jurisdiction 7

 Abstention from jurisdiction - State judgment review 8

Construction with other laws 1

Custody 2

Permanent custody 4

Persons entitled to maintain action 6

Res judicata 9

State judgment review, abstention from jurisdiction 8

Temporary custody 3

Termination of parental rights 5


1. Construction with other laws

Statute [25 U.S.C.A. § 1914] providing that any Indian child who is the subject of any action for foster care placement or termination of parental rights under state law, any parent or custodian from whose custody child was removed, and Indian child's tribe may petition any court of competent jurisdiction to invalidate action did not make inapplicable the full faith and credit provisions of 28 U.S.C.A. § 1738;  thus, tribe's taking appeal to state Supreme Court of order allowing non-Indian couple to adopt child the tribe contended was subject to Indian Child Welfare Act [Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978, §§ 2-204, 25 U.S.C.A. §§ 1901-1934] foreclosed tribe from relitigating in the issue in later federal district court action.  Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma v. Lewis, C.A.10 (Kan.) 1985, 777 F.2d 587, certiorari denied 107 S.Ct. 247, 479 U.S. 872, 93 L.Ed.2d 171.

2. Custody

"Custody," within meaning of statute granting parents "from whose custody such child was removed" right to challenge removal of custody, referred to parent's legal, rather than physical, relationship with Indian child.  Matter of Adoption of a Child of Indian Heritage, N.J.1988, 543 A.2d 925, 111 N.J. 155. Indians  6.6(1)

3. Temporary custody

In adoption proceeding involving adoption of non-Indian mother's illegitimate child, a five-sixteenths Kiowa Indian by blood, by a non-Indian adoptive couple, trial court did not abuse its discretion under this chapter by denying petition of putative father, father's parents, and Kiowa Tribe for a change of temporary custody.  Matter of Adoption of Baby Boy L., Kan.1982, 643 P.2d 168, 231 Kan. 199.  Adoption  13

4. Permanent custody

Alleged violations of sections 1911, 1912 and 1913 of this title, in temporary custody proceedings did not require invalidation of subsequent permanent custody proceedings which resulted in termination of parental rights, where district court in the permanent custody proceedings, even though it noted the prior temporary custody proceedings in its findings of fact, did not rely upon those proceedings, where permanent custody hearing involved entirely different witnesses and was conducted by a different judge, and where the record contained overwhelming evidence apart from the temporary custody order to support the termination of parental rights.  Matter of M.E.M., Mont.1984, 679 P.2d 1241, 209 Mont. 192.  Infants  253

5. Termination of parental rights

Invalidation of an Indian parental rights termination may not be accomplished by showing a violation of placement preferences set forth in section of Indian Child Welfare Act.  B.R.T. v. Executive Director of Social Service Bd. North Dakota, N.D.1986, 391 N.W.2d 594.  Indians  6.6(1)

6. Persons entitled to maintain action

Indian mother was not deprived of standing to challenge alleged violations of Indian Child Welfare Act by failure of tribe to join in appeal of termination of her parental rights in light of statute's intent of insuring compliance with minimal federal standards.  Matter of Kreft, Mich.App.1986, 384 N.W.2d 843, 148 Mich.App. 682.  Indians  6.6(3)

Indian father who had never had custody of or been involved with his daughters, aged five and six, was not entitled to invalidate foster care placement of daughters under Indian Child Welfare Act;  children had been removed from custody of non-Indian mother, and Act applies only in those situations where Indian children are being removed from existing Indian family environment. Matter of S.C., Okla.1992, 833 P.2d 1249.  Indians  6.6(1)

7. Abstention from jurisdiction

Provision of Indian Child Welfare Act granting any court of competent jurisdiction authority to consider challenge to foster care placements and terminations of parental rights does not permit federal court interdiction of ongoing state custody dispute involving Indian children in disregard of Younger abstention doctrine's principals of comity and federalism, as duplicitous and protracted litigation runs counter to purpose of expeditious determination of Indian child custody, and, thus, while ICWA provides minimum federal standards in state Indian child custody proceedings, it does not oust states of traditional jurisdiction over Indian children.  Morrow v. Winslow, C.A.10 (Okla.) 1996, 94 F.3d 1386, certiorari denied 117 S.Ct. 1311, 520 U.S. 1143, 137 L.Ed.2d 475.  Federal Courts  54

8. ---- State judgment review

Rooker-Feldman doctrine did not bar federal district court's review of state court's decision, terminating Native American mother's parental rights and placing her child in foster care, for alleged violation of Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).  Doe v. Mann, N.D.Cal.2003, 285 F.Supp.2d 1229.  Courts  509

9. Res judicata

Tribal member was not precluded, under either res judicata or collateral estoppel principles, from bringing federal court action challenging state court's child custody determination as violative of Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA);  issue had not been raised or adjudicated in state court.  Doe v. Mann, N.D.Cal.2003, 285 F.Supp.2d 1229.  Judgment  828.16(4)

25 U.S.C.A. § 1914, 25 USCA § 1914

Approved 07-28-05