Tribal Justice Systems

California Tribal Courts Directory

Currently there are 22 tribal courts located in California. The number of tribes with access to a tribal court is 39 because some courts serve multiple tribes.  For example, the Intertribal Court of Northern California serves 7 tribes; the Intertribal Court of Southern California serves 12 tribes; the Northern California Intertribal Court System serves 4 tribes; and the Northern California Tribal Courts Coalition serves 5 tribes. 

Learn more at the California Tribal Courts Directory.

Tribal Justice Development

1. California Dependency Online Guide (CalDOG) 
This Website contains juvenile dependency-related legal and non-legal information.   

2. Conferences, Meetings, and Webinars
AOC sponsored events, such as the Center for Judicial Education and Research (CJER) trainings and the Center for Families, Children & the Courts (CFCC) trainings, are open to tribal leaders and tribal advocates.  Tribal court judges can find out more information about exact scheduling of the trainings offered by CJER which has a listing of upcoming scheduled events on the Court Extranet.  Tribal judges and advocates can find upcoming events sponsored on CFCC or at the calendar of events found on California Dependency Online Guide (CalDOG) .  

3. Court Extranet
The State Judicial Branch has a Court Extranet with resources for state court judges and tribal court judges. This Website contains information relevant to all levels of judicial branch personnel and includes resources designed to meet education, facilities, financial, human resources, legal, special court projects, technology, and other informational needs. It also offers both current news and archived resources. For more information, please contact Angelica Souza at 415-865-7417.  

Limited grant funding may be available to California tribal court judges to attend trainings offered by the Administrative Office of the Courts.  For more information, please contact Penelope Davis at 415-865-8815.    

Judicial Council Resources for Tribal Justice Systems

1. Adapting Judicial Council Forms for Tribal Courts  
Tribal courts can request assistance in adapting current Judicial Council forms for tribal court use.

2. Collaborative Justice Projects and Tribal Courts Fact Sheet   

3. Domestic Abuse Self-Help Tribal Project Fact Sheet 

4. Human Resources Information
Contact Vida Castaneda at 415-865-7874 or

5. Supervised Visitation Services and Tribal Courts Fact Sheet   

6.  Tribal Justice Grant Opportunities
The AOC provides a listing of federal grants for tribal justice development, technical assistance for grant applications, and letters of support for grant applications.   

7. Tribal Court Clerks Technical Assistance Information
Contact Vida Castaneda at 415-865-7874 or

Jurisdiction in Indian Country

Reservations, rancherias and other federal trust lands held for the benefit of Indian people and tribes in California are what is known as “Indian Country”.  A different legal jurisdictional scheme governs Indian Country, with primary authority resting with tribal and federal governments and more limited state jurisdiction.


National Tribal Justice Organizations

National Tribal Justice Organizations

1. The National American Indian Court Judges Association (NAICJA) is a national voluntary association (non-profit corporation since 1969) of Tribal Court judges. The Association is primarily devoted to the support of American Indian and Alaska Native justice systems through education, information sharing, and advocacy. The mission of the Association, as a national membership organization, is to strengthen and enhance tribal justice systems.

2. National Association of Tribal Court Personnel (NATCP), formerly the National Association of Tribal Court Clerks, is a voluntary association of tribal court personnel. NATCP can be reached at the following:

c/o Hon. Robert Miller, President
National Association of Tribal Court Personnel
1920 Spring Creek Circle
Green Bay, Wisconsin 54311
Phone: (920) 468-8197
Fax: (920) 468-8198

3. Native American Bar Association (NABA) serves as the national association for Native American attorneys, judges, law professors and law students. Founded in 1973 as the American Indian Lawyers Association, NABA works to promote issues important to the Native American community and works to improve professional opportunities for Native American lawyers. NABA strives to be a leader on social, cultural, political and legal issues affecting American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians.

Additional Resources

Bureau of Justice Assistance Tribal Courts BJA Center for Program Evaluation and Performance Measurement - Tribal Courts  

California Court Clerks Association provides assistance to support state and tribal courts

National Center for State Courts Tribal Courts Resource Guide Tribal Courts Resource Guide | 

Tribal Courts: Partners in Justice Video 

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