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 Tribal Consultation on Strengthening our Nation-to-Nation Relationships

In accordance with President Biden’s January 26, 2021, Memorandum on Tribal Consultation and Strengthening Nation-to-Nation Relationships, we are pleased to invite Tribal leaders to participate in government-to-government consultation with the Department of Justice on April 7, 8, and 9, 2021. Please note that we strongly encourage written submissions as well as participation in the discussions. The invitation letter provides more information on joining the calls and submitting written comments; the framing paper provides background information and questions to consider in advance of the discussions.  Please feel free to contact OTJ@usdoj.gov 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.