The Office of Tribal Justice (OTJ) was originally established in 1995 as a unit within the Office of the Deputy Attorney General in response to tribal concerns. On April 30, 2010, Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. directed the establishment of OTJ as an independent component of the Department of Justice reporting directly to the Deputy Attorney General and the Associate Attorney General.
The mission of OTJ is to provide a principal point of contact within the Department of Justice for Indian tribes; to communicate Departmental policies with tribal implications; to promote internal uniformity of Department of Justice policies and litigation positions relating to Indian country; and to coordinate with other federal agencies and with state and local governments on their initiatives in Indian country.
The major functions of OTJ are to:
- Serve as the program and legal policy advisor to the Attorney General with respect to the treaty and trust relationship between the United States and Indian tribes;
- Serve as the Department’s initial and ongoing point of contact, and as the Department’s principal liaison, for federally recognized tribal governments and tribal organizations;
- Coordinate the Department’s activities, policies, and positions relating to Indian tribes, including the treaty and trust relationship between the United States and Indian tribes;
- Ensure that the Department and its components work with Indian tribes on a government-to-government basis;
- Collaborate with federal and other government agencies to promote consistent, informed government-wide policies, operations, and initiatives related to Indian tribes;
- Serve as a clearinghouse for coordination among the various components of the Department on federal Indian law issues, and with other federal agencies on the development of policy or federal litigation positions involving Indians and Indian tribes;
- Coordinate with each component of the Department to ensure that each has an accountable process to ensure meaningful and timely consultation with tribal leaders in the development of regulatory policies and other actions that affect the trust responsibility of the United States to Indian tribes, any tribal treaty provision, the status of Indian tribes as sovereign governments, or any other tribal interest;
- Ensure that the consultation process of each component of the Department is consistent with Executive Order 13175 and with the Department’s consultation policy;
- Serve, through its Director, as the official responsible for implementing the Department’s tribal consultation policy and for certifying compliance with Executive Order 13175 to the Office of Management and Budget; and
- Perform such other duties and assignments as deemed necessary from time to time by the Attorney General, the Deputy Attorney General, or the Associate Attorney General.