The mother and father never married but lived together for 8 years. The mother has four children, born in 2002, 2009, 2011 and 2014. The father is the biological father of the three youngest. While not biologically related to the eldest child, the father testified that he stood in the place of the child’s father for 8 years and that he formally had the biological father’s name removed from the child’s birth certificate and replaced with his own name.
Until September 29, 2016, the parents and four children lived together on the Fort Berthold Reservation, North Dakota. The father and three youngest children are members of the Fort Berthold Reservation while the mother and the eldest child are not.
On September 29, 2016, the mother left the family home and brought the four children to Punnichy, Saskatchewan. The mother and children later moved to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
The father brought applications to the Fort Berthold Tribal District Court, which issued, between October and February 2016, multiple ?chasing orders” giving custody of the children to the father.
The father filed an application for the return of the four children under the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention in the Court of Queen’s Bench for Saskatchewan on May 12, 2017. In the course of these proceedings, the parties made the following admissions: the children’s place of habitual residence was North Dakota and, if the father had custody rights in respect of each of the children, he was exercising them at the time of their removal.