University of North Dakota School of Law, Tribal Judicial Institute
DOJ Training area of focus: Courts and Tribal Law
The University of North Dakota (UND) School of Law established the Tribal Judicial Institute (TJI) in 1993 with an award from a private foundation, to provide training and technical assistance to twenty tribal courts in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota. The University of North Dakota School of Law is a leader amidst law schools
in the advancement of tribal legal studies through established curricula and through the implementation of an Indian Law Certificate Program that is offered to J.D. candidates. Since its inception and with the support of the School of Law, the Institute has expanded to become a national institute and has conducted over 500 local, regional and national training sessions. In 1998, the Institute became one of the initial grantees of the Bureau of Justice Assistance under BJA’s Tribal Court Assistance Program (TCAP). In 2001, the Institute was asked by BJA to coordinate the Tribal Court Assistance Program and since that time has served as the primary technical assistance provider to the over 250 Indian tribes that have received funding under the Tribal Court Assistance Project. The TCAP program was conceived under DOJ’s Indian Country Law Enforcement Initiative and its primary focus has been assuring safety for native communities by providing funding to Indian tribes to improve the collaboration between law enforcement and the courts and to assist local tribal initiatives to respond to crime in Indian Country. Under the TCAP program the Institute helped coordinate two “Listening” conferences where tribal leaders in Alaska and the lower 48 were able to come together with federal and state policy makers and express their concerns about crime in their communities. In addition, the Tribal Judicial Institute has actively collaborated with several BJA funded agencies to offer training opportunities on Indigenous Justice programs and methodology.
In addition to trainings, the Institute provides assistance in drafting tribal codes, court assessments, developing protocols between state and tribal governments on child welfare, child support and jurisdictional agreements, tribal court job descriptions, student legal research for tribal judges, and other requests from Indian tribes. The
Institute also operates a limited scholarship program for tribes who are unable to afford the travel and lodging associated with attending training events.
The target audience is American Indian and Alaska Native nations. Training and Technical assistance is not limited to tribes that have been awarded federal grants such as CTAS.
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