In August of 2012, the Cherokee Nation filed suit against the U.S. Department of the Interior because of its decision to allow the United Keetoowah Band ("UKB") to have trust land ("Indian country") of its own within the boundaries of the Cherokee Nation.  In fact, the land in question is located in the heart of the Cherokee Nation's capital - Tahlequah, Oklahoma.  That lawsuit, which the UKB has been allowed to join, is currently pending in the federal court in Tulsa and the main documents in the case can be found in the link below.


Additionally, there is a case pending in the Interior Board of Indian Appeals regarding the 76 acre tract, that is the current location of the UKB tribal headquarters. This matter is pending a decision by the Board.

Northern District of Oklahoma- Case No. 12-CV-493 (2 acre tract)

Northern District of Oklahoma- Case No.  14-CV-00019 (76 acre tract)

Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, et al., is only the second Indian Child Welfare Act (“ICWA”) case to be heard by the United States Supreme Court. The case involves the attempted adoption of a Cherokee child by a non-Indian couple in South Carolina. The child, born in Oklahoma, was placed for adoption without the knowledge or consent of the father. The South Carolina Supreme Court ruled that the father was entitled to custody under ICWA and because it was in the child’s best interests. Cherokee Nation intervened in the case in May 2010 and has been an active participate thought the trial and subsequent appeals.

ICWA was passed by Congress in 1978 “protect the best interests of Indian children and to promote the stability and security of Indian tribes and families by the establishment of minimum Federal standards for the removal of Indian children from their families and the placement of such children in foster or adoptive homes which will reflect the unique values of Indian culture.”

A current and complete list of all documents filed in the Supreme Court of the United States can be found here:


Full text of ICWA: