UC Davis Tribal Justice Symposium: Protecting Families Through Tribal Courts

The Tribal Justice Project Presents: Tribal Justice Symposium: Protecting Families Through Tribal Courts!

Tribal court judges, court personnel, practitioners, community members, and students are invited to attend this FREE event. Space is limited, please RSVP today!

Date: March 13, 2020

Location: UC Davis School of Law – Davis, CA

Fee: No Registration Fee

Click here to register.

For questions, please contact tjp@law.ucdavis.edu.

Flyer (PDF):

Tribal Justice Symposium Flyer and Agenda_Page_1Tribal Justice Symposium Flyer and Agenda_Page_2

Red Cliff Ojibwe Appellate Court Rejects Nonmember Challenge to Tribal Jurisdiction

Here are the materials in Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians v. CenturyTel of the Midwest – Kendall, LLC:

PLD 2020-02-04 Final Decision

Briefs here.

New Fletcher Paper: “The Rise and Fall of the Ogemakaan”

Please check out my new paper, “The Rise and Fall of the Ogemakaan,” now available on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Anishinaabe (Odawa, Bodewadmi, and Ojibwe) legal and political philosophy is buried under the infrastructure of modern self-determination law and policy. Modern Anishinaabe tribes are rough copies of American governments. The Anishinaabeg (people) usually choose their ogemaag (leaders) through an at-large election process that infects tribal politics with individualized self-interest. Those elected leaders, what I call ogemaakaan (artificial leaders) preside over modern governments that encourage hierarchy, political opportunism, and tyranny of the majority. While modern tribal governments are extraordinary successes compared to the era of total federal control, a significant number of tribes face intractable political disputes that can traced to the philosophical disconnect from culture and tradition.

Anishinaabe philosophy prioritizes ogemaag who are deferential and serve as leaders only for limited purposes and times. Ogemaag are true representatives who act only when and how instructed to do so by their constituents. Their decisions are rooted in cultural and traditional philosophies, including for example Mino-Bimaadiziwin (the act of living a good life), Inawendewin (relational accountability), Niizhwaaswii Mishomis/Nokomis Kinoomaagewinawaan (the Seven Gifts the Grandfathers or Grandmothers), and the Dodemaag (clans). I offer suggestions on how modern tribal government structures can be lightly modified to restore much of this philosophy.

Cool Pro Hac Update from Ho-Chunk Nation

HCN has updated their own tribal rules of civil procedure to allow for a pro hac waiver in tribal court for child welfare cases:

(C) Counsel not admitted to practice before the Ho-Chunk Nation Courts, but seeking to appear on behalf of a federally recognized Indian tribe in a proceeding regarding a petition for guardianship or for child protection over a child who is a member of that tribe, or eligible for membership in that tribe, shall be permitted to appear without paying any fee. Counsel representing an Indian tribe in such a matter shall also be permitted to make their appearance without filing a motion for special appearance, provided that, at that appearance, said counsel states on the record that they are admitted to practice in another state, federal, or tribal jurisdiction; that they have been in actual practice for two or more years, and takes the oath or affirmation for practice. This rule shall not apply to attorneys who appear on behalf of the Ho-Chunk Nation.

HCN Civ. Pro. R. 16(c)

We’ve updated the pro hac page accordingly.  Obviously these are not ICWA pro hac waivers, but are related and can be used to show comity in this area.

North Dakota SCT Affirms State Court Jurisdiction over Reservation Housing Eviction Matter

Here is the opinion in Gustafson v. Poitra: Opinion


Linus and Raymond Poitra appeal the district court judgment of eviction. The Poitras argue the district court erred by exercising jurisdiction over this matter, and by sending a North Dakota law enforcement officer onto the reservation to evict tribal members from property within the Turtle Mountain Reservation. We affirm.


Appellant Brief

Appellee Brief

Federal Court Rejects Immunity Defense to Nonmember Challenge to Tribal Jurisdiction

Here are the materials in Big Horn County Elec. Coop. v. Big Man (D. Mont.):

79 Tribal Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings

80 Response

81 Reply in Support of 79

83-4 Plaintiff Motion for Summary Judgment

85 Big Man Motion for Summary Judgment

88 Tribal Board Motion for Summary Judgment

97 Magistrate Report

98 DCT Order Denying 79

Prior post here.

Alex Skibine on Legislating Tribal Civil Jurisdiction over Nonmembers [now published]

Alex Tallchief Skibine has published “Incorporation Without Assimilation: Legislating Tribal Civil Jurisdiction over Nonmembers” in the UCLA Law Review Discourse.

The abstract:

For the last forty years the U.S. Supreme Court has been engaged in a measured attack on the sovereignty of Indian tribes when it comes to tribal court jurisdiction over people who are not members of the tribe asserting that jurisdiction. The U.S. Congress has already enacted legislation partially restoring some tribal courts’ criminal jurisdiction over nonmembers. This Article proposes to legislatively reconfirm the civil jurisdiction of tribal courts over such nonmembers. After examining the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence in this area and summarizing the Court’s main concerns with such tribal jurisdiction, this Article explores various legislative options before settling on a preferred course of action. The proposal set forth in the last part of this Article would reconfirm tribal court civil jurisdiction over nonmembers provided the tribal courts has established personal jurisdiction over the parties. However, tribal courts’ determinations on this subject would be appealable to federal courts. Furthermore, the Article proposes to allow nonmembers being sued in tribal courts the option of removing their cases to federal courts under certain conditions.