A lawsuit against a Minnesota county claims officials move two custody cases to Native American tribal court without the permission of the parents, violating their rights under federal law.
The case is being handled by the Thomas More Society, which said the parental rights of James Nguyen and Michelle Steinhoff “have been usurped in matters involving each of their minor children because the state of Minnesota is placing Native American tribal law above federal law.”
The complaint, in U.S. District Court in Minnesota, explains that although Nguyen’s former spouse has documented drug problems, and Steinhoff’s former spouse a multitude of criminal convictions, the tribal-member spouses were given custody of their children.
“Mr. Nguyen is married to a member of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community nation. He and Steinhoff, like other members of the association, have been victimized by Minnesota’s policy of automatically invoking the jurisdiction of a tribe or Indian community,” explained Erick Kaardal,