Minnesota Wellness Court Story and Video

Pioneer Press story is here. An excerpt

Excessive drinking cost the U.S. economy $223.5 billion in 2006, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2009, 10,839 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, accounting for roughly one-third of all traffic-related deaths in the U.S. that year.

Which brings me to Cass County District Judge John Smith and Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Tribal Court Associate Judge Korey Wahwassuck.

The jurists, from their upbringing and from handling cases, were long aware of the devastating impact of alcoholism on a good number of county residents, particularly on the Leech Lake Indian Reservation.

They realized that business as usual — locking up DWI offenders only to see them show up in court again and again for another offense — was not doing anybody any good.

So six years ago, Smith, Wahwassuck, probation officials and others established a first-of-its-kind joint DWI “wellness court.” They weathered initial pushback and resolved overlapping jurisdictional issues involving child custody and other matters.

Minnesota COA Orders Trial Court to Transfer ICWA Case to Leech Lake Tribal Court

Here is the unpublished opinion in In re R.L.Z. (Minn. App.). An excerpt:

On appeal from the district court’s denial of a tribe’s motion to transfer this proceeding to terminate parental rights to tribal court, appellant Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe (the Band) argues that good cause to deny its motion did not exist because: (a) the Band filed its motion promptly after receiving notice of the proceedings, which were not at an advanced stage at that time; (b) the record before the district court did not indicate that transfer would create undue hardship on the parties or the witnesses; and (c) the district court improperly based its denial of the Band’s motion on the child’s best interests. We reverse.

Tribal Judge Korey Wahwassuck on Tribal Court Jurisdiction

Leech Lake Band of Chippewa Indians Chief Judge Korey Wahwassuck has published “The New Face of Justice: Joint Tribal-State Jurisdiction” in the Washburn Law Journal.

This piece covers the watershed agreement between the Leech Lake Band and the Cass County District Court.

NPR Story on the Treuer Brothers

From NPR:

Fresh Air from WHYY, April 23, 2008 · Brothers David and Anton Treuer are members of the Ojibwe nation from the Leech Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota. They are working to preserve the Ojibwe language, one of the few Native American languages in use.

Anton Treuer is a professor of Ojibwe language and oral tradition at Bemidji State University. He is editor of the Oshkaabewis Native Journal and Omaa Akiing, a collection of Ojibwe tales by Leech Lake elders. Anton is also the author of Living Our Language: Ojibwe Tales and Oral Histories.

David Treuer is a professor of literature and creative writing at the University of Minnesota. He is author of a number of books, including the novel The Translation of Dr Apelles: A Love Story.