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.

Judicial Council Resources for Tribal Justice Systems

Judicial Resources

Online Judicial Resources (Judicial Resources Network)
This website contains information relevant to all levels of state 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. Because this is a password protected website, to learn more and obtain access, please contact Carolynn Bernabe at carolynn.bernanbe@jud.ca.gov or 415-865-7556.

Educational Resources (CJER Online)
The California Judicial Council’s Center for Judicial Education and Research (CJER) provides educational resources and practice aids for judicial officers in all assignments and for court leadership. You will find benchguides and other publications, online courses and video materials from live programs and TV broadcasts.  You will also be able to register for upcoming live programs. Please contact Carolynn Bernabe at carolynn.bernanbe@jud.ca.gov or 415-865-7556 for more information.

Online Child Welfare Resources (California Dependency Online Guide)
This website provides assistance to attorneys, judicial officers, and other professionals working in California's child welfare system, and may be relevant to tribal court judges and tribal advocates practicing in state court.

Court Operational Resources

Education for Leadership and Court Staff  (CJER Online)
The California Judicial Council’s Center for Judicial Education and Research (CJER) provides information relevant to all levels of state 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. To learn more and obtain access, please contact Carolynn Bernabe at carolynn.bernanbe@jud.ca.gov or 415-865-7556.

Court Forms
Assistance obtaining current California Judicial Council forms for tribal court use.

Grants Opportunities
Contact Vida Castaneda, 415-865-7874 to learn more about grant opportunities, local and statewide collaboration in applying for grants, and letters of support for tribal grant applications.

Human Resources Information
Contact Vida Castaneda at vida.castaneda@jud.ca.gov or 415-865-7874.

Program Assistance

Collaborative Justice Projects and Tribal Courts Fact Sheet

Domestic Abuse Self-Help Tribal Project Fact Sheet

Supervised Visitation Services and Tribal Courts Fact Sheet

S.T.E.P.S. to Justice- Domestic Violence
This brochure describes local educational services and other technical assistance for tribal and state court judges, as well as limited grant funding may be available to California tribal court judges to attend domestic violence trainings offered by the California Judicial Council.

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.

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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:

NATCP
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
E-mail: RMJ143@compuserve.com

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 | NCSC.org 

Tribal Courts: Partners in Justice Video 

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