Office of Tribal Justice

Office of Tribal Justice

Office of Tribal Justice

The Office of Tribal Justice (OTJ) was initially formed in 1995 in response to requests from Tribal leaders for a dedicated point of contact for Indian country-specific legal and policy matters. The office was made permanent on July 29, 2010, with the passage of the Tribal Law and Order Act (TLOA). 25 U.S.C. § 3665a(2010). The duties of the Office are described in Section 106 of the Act:


(c) DUTIES.—The Office of Tribal Justice shall—

(1) 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;

(2) serve as the point of contact for federally recognized tribal governments and tribal organizations with respect to questions and comments regarding policies and programs of the Department and issues relating to public safety and justice in Indian country; and

(3) coordinate with other bureaus, agencies, offices, and divisions within the Department of Justice to ensure that each component has an accountable process to ensure meaningful and timely consultation with tribal leaders in the development of regulatory policies and other actions that affect-

(A) the trust responsibility of the United States to Indian tribes;

(B) any tribal treaty provision;

(C) the status of Indian tribes as sovereign governments; or

(D) any other tribal interest.


OTJ’s broad sweep of responsibilities involve components across the Department, so the Office is one of five offices and divisions that report directly to both the Deputy Attorney General and the Associate Attorney General. The structure and responsibilities of OTJ are described in 28 CFR 0.134, which provides additional guidance related to the three primary duties described in the TLOA.

DOJ Announces Consultation on Public Safety and Missing or Murdered Indigenous Persons

On March 16 and 17, 2022, the Department of Justice will hold government-to-government consultations on DOJ's efforts to address the unacceptably high rate of violent crime in Native communities, including the rates of missing or murdered indigenous persons. Please review the invitation letter for more information about how to participate. Additional information about the background and scope of these discussions may be found in the framing paper. Please contact with any questions.

DOJ Announces Consultation on Risk Management in Economic Development

On October 28 and 29, 2021, the Department of Justice held government-to-government consultations on best practices for Tribal risk management in the context of economic development.  This consultation was mandated by Congress in the Fiscal Year 2021 Joint Explanatory Statement that accompanied the Fiscal Year 2021 appropriations bill. The invitation letter and framing paper provide additional background on the consultations. The final report is forthcoming. Please feel free to contact with any questions.

DOJ Consultation on Improving Tribal Data Relevance and Access to Databases

In accordance with S.227, Savanna's Act, the Department of Justice held government-to-government consultations on June 17 and 18, 2021. The invitation letter and framing paper provide background on the discussions.  The final report may be accessed here. Please feel free to contact with any questions.

DOJ Statement of Principles and Tribal Consultation Policy

The Department of Justice’s Statement of Principles was developed to guide and inform all of the Department's interactions with federally recognized Indian tribes.

Department of Justice Policy Statement on Tribal Consultation, August 29, 2013

DOJ’s "A Turning in the Tide" video

Watch the video "A Turning in the Tide" about Robert F. Kennedy's historic 1963 speech to the National Congress of American Indians and how the Justice Department is working today more than ever to fulfill its commitment to foster equal justice, safety, partnership and self-government in Native American communities.

General Information Office of Tribal Justice

Tracy Toulou
Director, Office of Tribal Justice


Office of Tribal Justice
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