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Tribal-State Court Collaboration Publications 


TLPI is pleased to offer the following publications addressing law and policy issues closely related to Tribal-State court collaborations. Be sure to check out our Walking on Common Ground project for more information on Tribal-State court collaborations.  

On July 26, 2021, the Tribal Law and Policy Institute (TLPI), in collaboration with thBureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), held the “Promising Strategies in Tribal-State-Local-Federal Intergovernmental Collaboration Virtual Meeting.” The panelists highlighted intergovernmental collaborations in child welfare, bail reform, family wellness courts and community wellness courts from Alaska, California, New York, and Maine. The meeting was well attended by invited stakeholders from various disciplines, including Tribal and State courts and law enforcement. TLPI drafted a short publication based on these and other promising intergovernmental collaborations that build resiliency and provide a new way forward in the process. This publication showcases six intergovernmental collaborations with resulting variations in reimagining justice. 

The Tribal Law and Policy Institute (TLPI) is pleased to announce a new short publication, Intergovernmental Collaborations to Heal, Protect, and Find Solutions: Joint Jurisdiction 101. This publication provides general guidance to assist Tribes in making an informed decision concerning the possibility of developing a Joint Jurisdiction Court. The publication discusses what a Joint Jurisdictional Court is, the different models and approaches that exists, how a community can assess their readiness to implement a Joint Jurisdictional model, and will provide recommendations for design, development, and implementation of Joint Jurisdictional Courts from a practical standpoint. The publication also includes resources and tools used by active joint jurisdictional court practitioners. 

This directory includes a detailed listing of the 13 currently operational Tribal -State Court forums around the nation. These forums provide unique collaboration opportunities across jurisdictions and have led to such positive outcomes as:  agreements on the transfer of jurisdiction, Indian Child Welfare Act education, tribal court directories, legislation on the enforcement of tribal court orders, judicial relationship building, and many more. Information on each forum includes: membership; funding; structure; organization; key accomplishments and authorizing documentation. (2020)

Crossing the Bridge.png

This Crossing the Bridge publication is one of the biggest barriers to successful tribal-state collaboration is taking the first steps toward relationship building.  The historical animosities between tribes and local counties/surrounding states can run deep. Strained relations going back many generations and contentious issues such as land, public safety, etc. can make for what may seem like insurmountable problems.  This can leave those who see collaboration as a possible solution with little hope. This publication gives practical steps toward initiating discussions across jurisdictions.  This publication provides details on “crossing the bridge” to meet jurisdictional peers and begin the relationship building necessary for collaborative endeavors that work toward common goals. (2019)

Thumbnail - BJA 9 Policy Brief - May 202

This brief provides a summary overview of Tribal-State Court Forums and includes a chart that provides an overview of key features of forums, such as membership attributes, information about authorizing documents and key accomplishments. (2020)

Tribal Protection Orders Meeting Report.

This Barriers and Solutions to Enforcing Tribal Protection Orders Meeting Report recaps how tribally issued protection orders are a crucial means of providing safety and justice in Indian country, particularly given the extremely high rates of violence against Native women. However, for protection orders to be an effective means of providing safety, cross-jurisdictional enforcement is necessary, which can be a challenge. On December 6, 2017, the Tribal Law and Policy Institute, in collaboration with BJA, hosted a day-long meeting to explore the barriers and highlight promising strategies around the enforcement of tribal protection orders. This report details those discussions and summarizes the successful efforts. (2019)

This Promising Strategies publication highlights initiatives by judicial organizations within both tribal courts and state court systems that have focused on an agenda of greater mutual understanding and cooperative action. Their areas of interactions include child welfare, cross jurisdictional enforcement of domestic violence orders of protection, and civil commitments. (2013)

This Working Group Report  is the result of a Tribal Law and Policy Institute working group session in December of 2012 to discuss tribal-state court collaborations and the successes and challenges that these partnerships currently face. TLPI drafted a report to the Bureau of Justice Assistance with findings and recommendations. The recommendations extend beyond simply the T/TA needed and provide insights into strategies that could be utilized by governments, agencies, and organizations to support tribal and state court collaborations and the resolutions of challenges faced. (2013)

This National Convening Report recaps the TLPI National Convening of Tribal and State Court Forums on June 2–3, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. The impetus for this meeting was a tribal-state collaboration working-group meeting convened by TLPI and held in 2012, wherein the tribal-state courts forums expressed a strong interest in an in-person meeting to engage in peer-to-peer training and networking. This report provides an overview of the meeting, specifically comments on the focus of TA and the needs of forums. (2017)

This Promising Strategies publication highlights unique ways in which tribal and state jurisdictions have entered into collaborations to overcome barriers to effective justice provision in PL 280 jurisdictions. Their areas of interaction include government-to-government recognition, concurrent jurisdiction, cross-jurisdictional enforcement of domestic violence orders of protection, cross-deputization, and civil commitments. (2013)

Joint Jurisdiction Courts: Needs Assessment Findings and Summary Findings (2022)
n September 2019, the Tribal Law and Policy Institute, in collaboration with the Bureau of Justice Assistance, disseminated a needs assessment survey to the joint jurisdiction courts known to be operational. The needs assessment survey responses showed that joint jurisdiction courts share similar characteristics and face similar challenges. The full report provides details on the findings of the needs assessment survey, including an overview of the lessons learned, the effectiveness of joint jurisdiction courts, and the funding needed to support their implementation, sustainability, and growth. The shorter report summarizes key take-aways.


Co-Authored Publications: 

American Indian/Alaska Native Youth & Status Offense Disparities  looks at the disparities faced in the state system by American Indian and Alaska Native youth who are charged with status offenses, the ability of both state and tribal systems to respond to status offenses, and federal funding. TLPI drafted this brief in partnership with the Coalition for Juvenile Justice. (2015)


Improving the Relationship between Indian Nations, the Federal Government, and State Governments provides background and tips for the development and implementation of cooperative agreements between Indian nations, the federal government, and state governments. The publication overviews the unique sovereign status of Indian nations, examines contemporary problems between sovereigns, provides examples of current efforts towards collaboration, and concludes with practical tips. (2000)

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