Tribal Law and Courts
This section of PALawHelp.org has information on the Tribal Law system and Trial Law Courts.
Click on a resource category listed below to see information related to that category.
The Pennsylvania Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service operates in 47 of the 67 counties across the state. A list of Local Bar Association Lawyer Referral Services is also availble on the site for counties not served by this service.
Answers to frequently asked questions about Why Tribes Exist Today in the United States; The Nature of Federal-Tribal and State-Tribal Relations; Tribal Government: Powers, Rights, and Authorities; Our Nation’s American Indian and Alaska Native Citizens; and The Assistant Secretary - Indian Affairs, the BIA, and the BIE.
The mission of the Office of Justice Services (OJS) is to uphold Tribal sovereignty and provide for the safety of Indian communities by ensuring the protection of life and property, enforcing laws, maintaining justice and order, and by ensuring that sentenced American Indian offenders are confined in safe, secure, and humane environments. Ensuring public safety and justice is arguably the most fundamental of government services provided in Tribal communities.
There are approximately 400 Tribal justice systems throughout the Nation. Tribal sovereignty is protected throughout the Tribal justice system or through a traditional court. For Tribes that do not have their own Tribal justice system, the Court of Indian Offences (CFR Courts) provide that service on behalf of the Tribe. This site provides information on the operation of the systems.
Federal law recognizes a special kind of Indian sovereign authority to govern themselves, subject to an overriding federal authority. Indian tribes are considered by federal law to be "domestic, dependent nations." This is an overview of American Indian Law from the Legal Information Institute at Cornell Law School.
The National Indian Law Library (NILL) of the Native American Rights Fund is a law library devoted to federal Indian and tribal law. NILL maintains a unique and valuable collection of Indian law resources and assists people with their Indian law-related research needs.
An introduction to legal materials available at the UW Law Library on Native Americans and other native peoples of the US, such as Native Alaskans and Hawaiians. Includes treaties, statutes, executive orders, court decisions, and administrative actions.
The Tribal Law and Policy Institute is a Native American operated non-profit dedicated to providing free publication resources, comprehensive training, and technical assistance for Native nations and tribal justice systems in pursuit of their vision to empower Native communities to create and control their own institutions for the benefit of all community members, now, and for future generations.