NAICJA is a national association comprised of tribal justice personnel & others devoted to supporting and strengthening tribal justice systems through education, information sharing, and advocacy. NAICJA is a non-profit corporation established in 1969 as a corporation in the state of Delaware following the enactment of the federal Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968. The Act required tribes to follow certain requirements similar to those in the Bill of Rights in the U.S. Constitution. Tribal courts are the forums where those rights are enforced. NAICJA’s early goal was to provide education to tribal judges so that they could conduct proceedings in compliance with ICRA.
As a national representative membership organization, NAICJA ‘s mission is to strengthen and enhance tribal justice systems.
NAICJA’s current goals include:
- Securing needed increases in funding for the daily functioning of tribal justice systems;
- Serving as the national voice of tribal justice systems when advocacy is needed;
- Ensuring that quality, culturally appropriate tribal judicial education is available nationwide;
- Improving cooperation between tribal, state and federal judiciaries; and
- Providing support to tribal judiciaries by creating opportunities for networking and mentorship.
Management of NAICJA is carried out by an elected Board of Directors and a Steering Committee comprised of representatives from each of ten regions distributed across the United States. NAICJA’s training and technical assistance program is the National Tribal Justice Resource Center which is gearing up to provide on-line resources highlighting tribal court funding opportunities, training events and a repository of tribal bench books and practice guides as well as information related to both Indian Child Welfare issues related to tribal justice systems and tribal civil and criminal legal assistance for tribal legal aid attorneys and public defenders.