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Current Projects


TLPI is pleased to offer the following projects for the improvement of tribal justice systems. Take a look and visit the corresponding websites to learn more.


The Tribal Court Clearinghouse is a comprehensive website established in June 1997 to serve as a resource for American Indian and Alaska Native Nations, American Indian and Alaska Native people, tribal justice systems, victims services providers, tribal service providers, and others involved in the improvement of justice in Indian country. It is one of the most comprehensive websites on tribal justice system issues, and includes a wealth of tribal, state, and federal resources. The Clearinghouse website contains extensive resources on tribal, state, and federal law along with extensive Indian country subject-matter resources, a training events calendar, and resources from all TLPI webinars


TLPI provides resources and training/technical assistance to develop, promote and enhance intergovernmental collaborations, with a special focus on judicial collaborations, such as joint jurisdiction courts. This project includes the website which serves as a resource on tribal-state-federal-local collaborations and contains a wealth of collaboration resources, including an interactive map with memorandums of agreements searchable by subject matter.


This project - currently funded by a grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance – also includes providing resources for implementing both the Tribal Law and Order Acts “enhanced sentencing” provisions and the Violence Against Native Women Act “Special Domestic Violence Criminal Jurisdiction.” 


~Tribal-State Collaboration Project Brochure

The mission of the Tribal Justice Collaborative (TJC) is to protect family unity and ensure children have meaningful relationships with both parents and their extended families including the larger tribal community to which the child belongs. This is achieved through collaboration among tribal courts, state courts, tribes, child welfare, and all systems providing services to Native children and families.

The Tribal Justice Collaborative is guided by a judicial advisory, whose goal is to improve outcomes for tribal children and families by promoting best practices for courts and child serving agencies.

TLPI provides a Tribal Healing to Wellness Court Training and Technical Assistance project which includes onsite and offsite technical assistance, regional and national trainings, a publication series, and a webinar series.


This project – currently funded under a grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance - includes the website which serves as a resource center for  project resources and contains relevant law and policy updates for Tribal Healing to Wellness Courts.


~Healing to Wellness Courts Project Brochure

The Tribal Law and Policy Institute in partnership with the National Native Children’s Trauma Center serves as the Training and Technical Assistance provider for OJJDP Tribal Youth Programs and Tribal Juvenile Healing to Wellness Courts grantees, as well as to all interested federally recognized tribes. This free training and technical assistance center is designed to help expand tribes’ potential in protecting and nurturing their most sacred asset – tribal youth – through a culturally based and trauma informed lens. The Tribal Youth Resource Center accomplishes this mission through a variety of regional trainings, web-based trainings, onsite trainings, and teleconference consultations ranging from court development, assessing compliance with OJJDP grant requirements, strategic planning through sustainability, restorative practices, youth leadership & empowerment, parent engagement to a whole host of all other programmatic training and technical assistance offerings. Request training and technical assistance at and please visit the website.

TLPI is a major partner in the Capacity Building Center for Tribes. The Center for Tribes is a cooperative agreement between the Federal Children's Bureau and the Butler Institute for Families, at the University of Denver. The Center for Tribes is comprised of four organizations (DU, TLPI, University of Southern Maine, Westat), each with experience working with tribal and state partners designing, delivering and evaluating technical assistance and capacity building services in Indian country. 
TLPI is a major partner in the Capacity Building Center for Tribes and provides the Center with significant Tribal child welfare expertise, including highly experienced staff, a pool of consultants, and a National Advisory Committee.


This project provides capacity building assistance with American Indian and Alaska Native Nations to help strengthen the child and family systems of Native nations in order to nurture the safety, permanency, and well-being of Native children, youth, and families.

Be sure to visit the Center for Tribe's Tribal Child Welfare Information Exchange for the latest news and resources, including a tribal ICWA managers peer-to-peer network.

~Capacity Building Center for Tribes Project Brochure

TLPI provides an Establishing Tribal Domestic Violence Courts and/or Dockets. The project will provide Native nations with information and resources  geared toward the development and implementation of a tribal domestic violence court or docket.Under the project, TLPI will work with tribes on domestic violence training for all systems and services interfacing with victims/survivors. TLPI will also work with tribes on collaborating and coordinating the systems in order to promote victim/survivor safety and batterer accountability.

~Tribal Domestic Violence Courts/Dockets Brochure

The Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) Strengthening Tribal Response to Violence Against Native Women - provides training, technical assistance and resources designed to help individual tribal governments and tribal communities enhance victim safety and more effectively address offender accountability.

Capacity building training and technical assistance support are available to any tribal government or tribal community not currently OVW grant funding. Initiative partners provide individualized training, technical assistance and resources to strengthen the response of tribal governments to effectively address sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking.

Initiative training, technical assistance, and resources will focus on:

  • Legal response—tribal protection orders

  • Coordinated Community Response (CCR)

  • Shelter and safe housing



Upcoming webinars to learn more about training and technical assistance opportunities:


Contact or 651-644-1145

TLPI - in partnership with the National Congress of American Indians and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges - provides training and technical assistance for tribes interested in implementing the “Special Domestic Violence Criminal Jurisdiction” provisions of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) of 2013.


This project’s Tribal Implementation of VAWA website provides resources developed in conjunction with the Inter-Tribal Working Group concerning due process, jury pools, code development, and other topics relevant to the exercise of this tribal authority to prosecute non-Indians for domestic violence, dating violence, and violations of protection orders. With funding from the Bureau of Justice Assistance – TLPI has developed three additional resources under this project:


  1. An Implementing TLOA and VAWA Tribal code resource which provides guidance for Native nations interested in implementing enhanced sentencing under the Tribal Law and Order Act (TLOA) and/or the special domestic violence criminal jurisdiction under VAWA 2013

  2. A comprehensive VAWA resource on the Tribal Court Clearinghouse.

  3., which serve as an online resource on the drafting and enforcement of tribal protection orders.

Since 1998, TLPI has provided a Tribal Legal Studies program which is designed to formalize and institutionalize tribal legal education – most recently through the development of a series of textbooks and instructor guides for use by tribal colleges and tribal justice systems courts as well as use as in-service training and self-study. Four textbooks in the series have been published (some with multiple editions) with several additional volumes planned, including Tribal Code Development.


With funding from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, this Tribal Legal Studies project provides a copy of each textbook, free of charge, to every tribal court and maintains, where purchase information is available.


Tribal Legal Studies Textbook Series

  • Introduction to Tribal Legal Studies: 3rd Ed. (coming December 2015)

  • Tribal Criminal Law and Procedure 2nd Ed. (2015)

  • Structuring Sovereignty: Constitutions of Native Nations (2014)

  • Sharing our Stories of Survival: Native Women Surviving Violence (2008)

Starting in 2002, TLPI has coordinated and hosted a series of 7 National Indian Nations Conferences which bring together victim advocates, victims, tribal leaders, service providers, and federal/state agency representatives to share knowledge, experiences and ideas for developing programs that serve the unique needs of Indian country crime victims. Information and resources from prior conferences can be accessed at  


TLPI was recently awarded another Office for Victims of Crime grant to host the 15th National Indian Nations Conference. Please save the dates: December 8-10, 2016 for the next Indian Nations Conference with Pre-Conference Institutes on December 7th.

Sponsored by the Children’s Bureau, the Center for Native Child and Family Resilience (the Center) is a partnership between JBS International, Inc., the Tribal Law and Policy Institute, and Mathematica Policy Research.  The Center gathers and disseminates information about Tribally relevant practice models, interventions, and services that contribute substantively to child maltreatment prevention efforts and family resilience developed by and for American Indian and Native Alaskan populations. We also provide technical assistance and capacity building services and support to organizations working in Indian Country to develop, adapt, or expand these programs.

Many prevention and intervention models in Indian Country build resilience by using Tribal cultural values, the transmission of family traditions, and the experiences of Tribal youth. Guided by these values, traditions, and experiences, Tribal community initiatives have shown great promise in developing resilience-based models for child abuse prevention.  The experiences of Tribal communities suggest that these approaches are often effective in enhancing family resilience and reducing the risks of harm to children and adults—yet rarely have these strategies used collaborative community-based evaluation to demonstrate their effectiveness.  


As part of a Children’s Bureau project to raise awareness of Tribally engaged prevention and intervention efforts, the Center supports and enhances resilience-related approaches to Tribal child welfare by supporting Tribes in developing and building evidence-based standards of care. The Center embraces the unique opportunity to honor these valiant community efforts that improve Native family resilience and to help empower Tribal communities of care by using culturally engaged, community-based evaluation models to demonstrate the effectiveness of these efforts and disseminate Native solutions to the field.

TLPI has developed a series of community based Tribal Legal Code Resources which are designed to provide guidance for tribes interested in drafting and/or revising their laws. These resources are not model or sample codes. Instead, they draw from many sources and provides tribes a range of options to choose from, based on the specific vision, values, and needs of their specific tribal community. These code resources includes various examples of different tribal statutory language with critical commentary along with discussion questions and exercises designed to help tribes customize their laws to meet the needs of the individual community.


Current Tribal Legal Code Resources include:

Coming Soon:

  • Tribal Civil Children’s Laws (Child Welfare/Child Dependency Laws)

American Bar Association Programs and Activities

Over the past ten years, a number of TLPI staff members have been actively involved with various programs and activities of the American Bar Association (ABA) including the following entities:



~Human Rights Magazine; Vol. 40, No. 4- Tribal Sovereignty

~Native American Concerns Committee Brochure

~Tribal Courts Council Brochure

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