Frequently Asked Questions

What is the role of the Office of Tribal Justice?

Is the Office of Tribal Justice the same as the Bureau of Indian Affairs?

What is the relationship of the Office of Tribal Justice with Tribes?

Can the Office of Tribal Justice provide me with legal advice?

Can the Office of Tribal Justice provide me with assistance in my child custody or child support case?

Can the Office of Tribal Justice assist me in gaining membership in a Tribe?

Can the Office of Tribal Justice help my tribe become federally recognized?

Can the Office of Tribal Justice help a non-tribal member with a tribal dispute?

Can the Office of Tribal Justice help someone wanting to sue a tribe or tribal business?

What is the role of the Office of Tribal Justice?
The Office of Tribal Justice serves as the primary point of contact for Indian tribes with the Department, as well as the resident legal experts on issues pertaining to federal Indian law.

Is the Office of Tribal Justice the same as the Bureau of Indian Affairs?
The Office of Tribal Justice is a component within the Department of Justice. The Bureau of Indian Affairs ("BIA") is a part of the Department of the Interior. The BIA may be contacted at Bureau of Indian Affairs, Department of the Interior, 1849 C Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20240.

What is the relationship of the Office of Tribal Justice with Tribes?
The Department of Justice maintains a government-to-government relationship with federally recognized Tribes. The Office of Tribal Justice serves as the primary point of contact between tribal governments and the Department.

Can the Office of Tribal Justice provide me with legal advice?
The Office of Tribal Justice cannot provide legal advice to private citizens pursuing a personal cause of action. For referrals to private attorneys, you should contact the appropriate Tribal or State Bar Association.

Can the Office of Tribal Justice provide me with assistance in my child custody or child adoption case?
The Office of Tribal Justice cannot provide legal advice or assistance in child custody or child support cases. For referrals to private attorneys, you should contact the appropriate Tribal or State Bar Association. For additional information about the Indian Child Welfare Act (“ICWA”), you may wish to contact the National Indian Child Welfare Association and the Native American Rights Fund.

Can the Office of Tribal Justice assist me in gaining membership in a specific Tribe?
Tribal membership is left to the discretion of each individual Tribe. As such, you should directly contact your ancestral Tribe for information on membership requirements.

Can the Office of Tribal Justice assist me if my Tribe seeks to terminate my membership in the Tribe?
As noted above, tribal membership is left to the discretion of each individual Tribe.  For information concerning any possible recourse you may have, contact the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Can the Office of Tribal Justice help my tribe become federally recognized?
Congress has identified the Department of the Interior as the lead agency to address federal recognition issues. Tribes must undergo a federal recognition process before recognition can be granted per 25 U.S.C. § 211. For additional information you may wish to contact directly the Bureau of Indian Affairs in the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Can the Office of Tribal Justice help a non-tribal member with a tribal dispute?
The Office of Tribal Justice does not represent individuals or provide legal advice. That would be a matter for a private attorney.

Can the Office of Tribal Justice help someone wanting to sue a tribe or tribal business?
The Office of Tribal Justice does not represent individuals or provide legal advice. That would be a matter for a private attorney.