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Tribal Courts Council

About Us

About the Tribal Courts Council

The Tribal Courts Council is devoted to the recognition and enhancement of American Indian Tribal courts and the judges thereof. Today, many believe that American Indians have become a neglected and often forgotten minority. Tribal Court justice systems in the United States for many are unknown, misunderstood or ignored. The same is true of the many contributions to our unique democracy made by the democratic governments of Native Americans before and during the time of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America.

The very first Tribal Court Litigation Update of selected tribal court decisions from across the country prepared for inclusion in the Federal Bar Association's 31st Annual Indian Law Conference held in Albuquerque, New Mexico.


The Tribal Courts Council grew out of the Native American Tribal Courts Committee of the National Conference of Specialized Court Judges. Realizing that Federal Indian law and Tribal law are two of the hottest areas of legal practice with sold out course offerings in law school and increasing demand for CLE training, the Judicial Division enlarged the scope of its Tribal Court project and made it a free-standing committee of the Division—the Tribal Courts Council.

The Tribal Courts Council is the voice of the Tribal Court Judge within the American Bar Association. The Council has sponsored or co-sponsored a number of cutting-edge programmatic activities, including Amnesty International’s Maze of Injustice and criminal jurisdiction in Indian Country. The Council has been instrumental in lobbying for increased presence of Native American law students in the Judicial Division Clerkship Program, in lobbying Congress for passage of the Tribal Law and Order Act and for the promotion of American Indians to the Federal and State benches.

Through the Judicial Division Tribal Courts Council, the American Bar Association continues to endorse the validity and vitality of Tribal Courts. In so doing, those involved in the ongoing process of legitimizing the Tribal Courts of America within the dominant culture have gained a powerful ally.