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NAICJA Conferences and Trainings:

October 10-13, 2017
Isleta Pueblo, NM


Newly Posted Recorded Webinars!

December 19, 2018 - Building Tribal Court Capacity

This session will explores how tribal courts can build and enhance their capacity to serve their community. Faculty discusses the basics of court management and how to develop programs to support the legal work of the Court. Faculty also addresses how the development of Court programs can allow for involvement of the community and Tribal Membership in the Tribal Court and enhances relationship building between the Court and the Community and Membership it serves.

Angela Fasana, Court Administrator, Conf. Tribes of Grand Ronde
Adrea Korthase, Site Manager, NCJFCJ

Rebekah HorseChief, NAICJA Program Coordinator

December 18, 2018 - The Indian Child Welfare Act and Best Practices for Attorneys

Within the child welfare world, research has demonstrated the following truths: 1. Removing a child from their home, even when necessary, is generally traumatic for the child; 2. Kinship and community placements help reduce the degree of trauma felt by the child; 3. Reunification must remain the primary focus unless and until every effort has been made and it has been deemed impossible. Best practice recommendations for child representatives, parent representatives, social workers, CASAs, and GALs incorporate this knowledge, but there is also a federal law (the Indian Child Welfare Act) that requires efforts with a certain population that mirror the latest research. This session will review the law and show which legal elements meet both legal and best practices requirements.

Victoria Sweet (Anishinaabe), JD, MA, Assistant Director, Tribal Law and Justice Counseling, The Whitener Group

Ansley Sherman (Muscogee (Creek)), Program Attorney, National American Indian Court Judges Association

December 11, 2018 - Incorporating Cultural Practices Into Your Tribal Court

Incorporating traditional cultural practices into Tribal Court can provide Tribal communities with vital options for dispute resolution, substance abuse treatment and sobriety maintenance, and relationship development. This webinar will explore how courts have worked with Tribal Elders to bring traditional elements from the community into the court.

Judge Abby Abinanti, Judge, Yurok Tribal Court
Judge Jan Morris, Program Director, NCJFCJ

Rebekah A. HorseChief, Program Coordinator, NAICJA

October 26, 2018 - Medication Assisted Treatment:

Medication Assisted Treatment is vital for those who struggle with opioid addiction. In many tribal communities, especially in rural areas, access to Medication Assisted Treatment is challenging. This session will explore why Medication Assisted Treatment is a necessary component of opioid treatment and will discuss the challenges of providing this necessary service in rural tribal communities.

Dr. Anne Skinstad, Clinical Professor & Director, Native American Indian and Alaska Native Addiction Technology Transfer Center
Sean Bear 1st BA, CADC, Meskwaki Tribal Nation, Native American Indian and Alaska Native Addiction Technology Transfer Center

Rebekah HorseChief (Osage), Program Coordinator, National American Indian Court Judges Association

September 27, 2018 - Sober Support in Tribal Communities:

People in recovery do better at maintaining their sobriety over a long period of time when they have “sober support.” This webinar will explore sober support options for use in Tribal Communities from the 12-step models to more “homegrown” models that incorporate traditional cultural practices to help those in recovery maintain sobriety.

Trina Hart, Gila River Indian Community
Kim M. McGinnis, PhD, Chief Judge, Pueblo of Pojoaque

Ansley Sherman (Muscogee (Creek)), Program Attorney, National American Indian Court Judges Association

April 25, 2018 - Drugs and Adolescent Brain:

Adolescents are infamous attention seekers and risk takers. Many adolescents engage in activities and behaviors that garner attention from others and could be potentially harmful or destructive (whether to the body or mind). These risky behaviors provide a rush or an experience of extreme emotion, which adolescents tend to crave because of their developing emotion center of the brain. One of the last parts of the brain to develop is the judgment and decision-making center, leading adolescents to engage in more impulsive behavior without thinking of future consequences. Substance use is both a typical and a dangerous adolescent activity. It provides the adolescent brain with the stimulation it craves, but can have dire long-term outcomes. This session will explore adolescent development and the impact that substance abuse can have on a young person’s life.

Jessica Pearce, National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges
Judge Kami D. Hart, Gila River Indian Community

Ansley Sherman (Muscogee Creek), Program Attorney, National American Indian Court Judges Association

August 22, 2017 -  Tribal Justice Webinar - Planning a Healing to Wellness Court: Inspiration and Vision

Tribal Healing to Wellness Courts bring together community-healing resources with the tribal justice process, using a team approach to achieve the physical and spiritual healing of the participant and the well-being of the community. This webinar will walk participants through the visioning and foundation planning process to begin the development and implementation of a Healing to Wellness Court. Focus will be given to the key partners needed, as well as primary components that should eventually be reflected in your policies and procedures. You'll hear firsthand from seasoned tribal judges who will share reflections, tips, and lessons learned about their experience with developing their own Healing to Wellness Court.

July 27, 2017 -  Tribal Justice Webinar - Trauma-Informed Court Systems: A Webinar for Tribal Communities

Research continues to clarify how traumatic experiences negatively impact the way traumatized people interact with the world. When an individual becomes court-involved it is highly likely that they have experienced some level of trauma. If the court system is not trauma-informed they can be re-traumatized, often triggering harmful reactions. Tribal communities have the challenge of addressing the traumatic experiences of individuals while at the same time dealing with the after effects of historical and intergenerational traumatic patterns that have affected entire communities. However, tribes also have strengths found in their traditional teachings that provide inspiration for strategies to address trauma in all its forms. This webinar will explain what is meant by the phrase trauma-informed courts, provide data about challenges facing tribes around the country, discuss how trauma looks in the court setting, and then provide practical ideas about how to incorporate both traditional values and research-based strategies to make tribal court systems not only trauma-informed but trauma-responsive.

May 25, 2017 -  Tribal Justice Webinar - Healing to Wellness Courts Key Components and Standards

The Tribal Key Components form the foundation of all tribal drug courts. The Adult Drug Court Standards represent the latest research-based best practices for what works within the drug court setting. Applicants for Wellness Court federal funding are now being asked to abide by both documents. This webinar overviews both the key components and the Standards, and discuss how they inter-relate. This webinar is designed for those less familiar with the Wellness Court model and those seeking to use these documents to apply for federal funding and/or integrate into their own Wellness Court.

April 26, 2017 -  Tribal Justice Webinar - Peace Circles: A Virtual Circle on Peacemaking

Peacemaking is not alternative dispute resolution to Native communities – it is the original, traditional way our communities managed to work through disputes for centuries before tribal courts were created. Because of natural limitations inherent in tribal courts, there is increasing interest in the continuation and revitalization of those traditional ways.

This webinar explains how tribal traditions may hold a solution to some problems that have proven especially difficult in tribal court, provide some examples of how other tribes have had success, and explain how this movement is part of a bigger picture, even internationally, of how indigenous communities are using their own wisdom to solve their problems. Speakers include well known and seasoned Peacemakers including NARF Indigenous Peacemaking Initiative staff and advisory committee members.

2016 Webinars

1. Tribal Initiatives: Tribal Public Defense and How to Use Existing Resources to Provide Holistic Defense in Tribal Communities

2. Successfully Developing Tribal Justice Systems in a Public Law 280 State

3. EXPUNGEMENT AND INDIAN COUNTRY: The Need to Address Past Criminal Histories for a Better Future 

4. Building a Collaborative Court with Other Jurisdictions to Treat Nonviolent Tribal Adult Offender

CTAS Purpose Area 3 Training and Technical Assistance

Indian Country has longstanding criminal justice issues associated with substance abuse, and most recently, tribal communities have been forced to confront a rapid and unprecedented rise in methamphetamine, heroin, and opiate trafficking and abuse that has led to a dramatic increase in reservation crime.  The National American Indian Court Judges Association (NAICJA) is committed to customizing innovative, grassroots solutions by providing true peer-to-peer TTA that will address the unique interests of tribal sovereigns as defined by the community the justice system serves. The benefit of this approach is bringing together TTA providers who understand the insular nature of reservations and who are invested in the growth and wellbeing of tribal communities with current best practices and cultural competency.

NAICJA will provide TTA to Program Area 3 grantees in partnership with Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, the Indigenous Peacemaking Initiative of the Native American Rights Fund, the Tribal Law and Policy Institute, Cheryl Fairbanks, LLC, the Hon. Lawrence Lujan, Columbia Law School, the National Center for State Courts, and the Tribal Judicial Institute. NAICJA’s goal is to provide Training and Technical Assistance that preserves each tribe’s own individual concepts of native law and support tribal self-determination by strengthening the justice system and the intervention programs designed to address alcohol and substance abuse.

Training objectives include:

1) Increasing the knowledge of criminal and tribal justice practitioners through in-person training, web based learning, distance learning including webinars and podcasts, and developing or revising training curricula;

2) Increasing all serviced tribal justice agency’s ability to solve problems and/or modify policies and practices; and,

3) Increase information provided to BJA and the criminal and tribal justice communities.

Services and Training and Technical Assistance will include:

  •     Publications, fact-sheets, and model codes,
  •     Code drafting assistance,  
  •     Peer-to-peer consultations,
  •     Listserv communications,
  •     Onsite TTA,
  •     Distance Learning TTA via teleconference, videoconference, and email,
  •     Interactive online training modules,
  •     Webinars,
  •     In-person training and needs assessments via a National Training Conference. Training and pre-conference topics will be related to tribal justice systems, including traditional justice, alcohol and substance abuse as it relates to public safety and victims’ services, law enforcement, prosecution, defense services/legal aid, offender reentry, tribal-federal-state intergovernmental collaboration, and justice information sharing.

Tribal Civil and Criminal Legal Assistance Program   

NAICJA is the Tribal Justice Training and Technical Assistance provider under the Bureau of Justice Assistance's (BJA) Tribal Civil and Criminal Legal Assistance (TCCLA) Program, offering training and technical assistance to TCCLA Grantees and Sub-grantee Legal Aid organizations. TTA Resources are available to 1) enhance the operations of tribal justice systems and improve access to those systems, and 2) provide training and technical assistance for development and enhancement of tribal justice systems.  Through a training and technical assistance request form NAICJA took requests for training from TCCLA grantees and Sub-grantee Leal Aid organizations.

Under this grant NAICJA developed the following deliverables:


An Overview of the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s Tribal Civil and Criminal Legal Assistance Program and Resources (download)

This publication provides an overview of the Tribal Civil and Criminal Legal Assistance Program (TCCLA). It identifies resources and eligibility guidelines for tribes seeking to obtain or provide civil and criminal legal assistance for their communities, explores program sustainment strategies, and outlines several promising practices for the provision of indigent legal assistance in tribal communities.

Report on the Traditional and Holistic Justice Roundtable (download)

Emerging Practices in Tribal Civil and Criminal Legal Assistance (download)

Collateral Consequences Infographic (download)

Seeking Assistance for Collateral Consequences (download)

Holistic Approach to Civil and Criminal Legal Assistance in Tribal Justice Systems Presentation (download)

Traditional Peacemaking: Exploring the Intersections between Tribal Courts and Peacemaking, including Alternatives to Detention Presentation (download)


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