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State-Tribal Collaboration Webinars

Funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance and jointly hosted by the NCJA Center for Justice Planning (NCJP) and the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), this webinar series aims to enhance state and tribal collaboration and highlight the benefits of intergovernmental coordination. Each webinar in this series focuses on a different aspect of state and tribal collaboration. Below are webinar descriptions, recordings, and supporting materials for this series.

Improving Tribal & State Community Relations: Joint Crow Creek Sioux Tribe and South Dakota Highway Patrol Memorandum of Understanding

Webinar slides | Q & A | Cross Creek Sioux/SD Highway Patrol MOU

Collaborations between tribal communities and state and local law enforcement are changing attitudes, building trust, and forming mutual respect between policing agencies and community members. In 2013, the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe and the South Dakota Highway Patrol entered into a historic memorandum of understanding (MOU) that empowers state law enforcement officers to enforce tribal law on the reservation at the request of the Tribe. For the past two years, the Tribe has used this MOU to ensure public safety during the Tribe’s annual powwow. This webinar highlights how this intergovernmental collaboration came about, the significance of this partnership for law enforcement and the community, and lessons learned.

Speakers (view bios): Roxanne Sazue, Chairwoman, Crow Creek Sioux Tribe; Scott Shields, Police Chief, Crow Creek Sioux Tribe; Cpt. Alan Welsh, District Commander, South Dakota Highway Patrol.

Preparing to Return Home: Tribal and State Reentry Collaborations

Webinar recording | Slides | Transcript | Q & A | SD DOC 2014 Public Oversight Committee Annual Report

Transitioning from incarceration back to a community is often a complex process not only for the returning individual, but also their families and community-at-large. Reentry can be especially difficult for tribal members who wish to return to their tribal communities. Given much of Indian Country is located in geographically remote areas, successful reentry is inherently complicated for those who are subject to state supervision. In such instances, it is critical that the releasing agency and the tribal community work together to leverage community resources in order to meet the basic and behavioral health needs of the person returning.

This webinar explores two examples of how communities have collaborated to aid in the successful reentry of local tribal members. We first highlighted recent efforts by the U. S. Attorney from the District of Colorado, the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe and, county agencies to develop strategies for reentry planning and service alignment for tribal members preparing to return home. Next, the webinar highlights the Tribal-Parole Pilot Project recently enacted through South Dakota’s Public Safety Improvement Act, which establishes a partnership between the South Dakota Department of Corrections, the Department of Tribal Relations, and the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate tribe. Through this initiative, the State provides training and funding for a tribal parole agent to supervise parolees on the reservation. A tribal wellness team works with the agent and parolee in accessing services, providing appropriate supervision and support, and responding to violations.

Speakers: Kimberly Cobb, Project Director, American Probation and Parole Association; Peter Ortego, General Counsel, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe; and John Walsh, US Attorney, District of Colorado.

Improving Tribal Access to Victim Services: Lessons from National, State, and Tribal Perspectives

Webinar recording | Slides | Transcript | Q & A

With high rates of crime and victimization, tribal communities suffer disproportionately from the long-lasting and multi-generational impacts of exposure to violence. By restoring tribal court jurisdiction over non-Indians who commit acts of dating and domestic violence on tribal lands, the 2013 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) renewed the focus on domestic violence in Indian country and the needs of tribal victims. This webinar highlights practical approaches to ensuring tribal access to victims funding, compensation, and services. This webinar also highlighted collaborative state, local, and tribal efforts aimed at providing a variety of services to meet the needs of tribal victims.

Speakers: Dianne Barker Harrold, Indian Country Consultant; Brian Hendrix, Victims of Crimes Tribal Liaison, State of Oklahoma; and Nikki Finkbonner, Coordinator, Lummi Nation Victims of Crime Program. Moderator: Steve Siegel, Director, Special Program Unit, Denver District Attorney.

Project TEAM: Helping Tribes and State/Local Governments Create Joint Jurisdiction Collaborations (Pre-Application Webinar)

Download slides | RFP | Application

Funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Project TEAM (Together Everyone Achieves More) provides training and technical assistance (TTA) to sites who wish to design and implement joint jurisdiction justice projects. This model is based on the successful experience of Judge John Smith and Judge Korey Wahwassuck who created the nation’s first joint jurisdiction court in Minnesota. The Cass County-Leech Lake Wellness Court was successful in reducing recidivism, improving public safety, and helping to significantly improve the relationship between the tribe and the surrounding community.

In 2013, BJA funded Project TEAM to provide TTA to the Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians and El Dorado County Superior Court in California. Following TTA assistance, the tribe and county plan to launch a joint-jurisdiction juvenile and family wrap-around wellness court in the spring of 2015. BJA has authorized Project TEAM to provide TTA to two additional communities. NCJA hosted this webinar to introduce Project TEAM staff, describe the TTA services offered, and review the application procedure for TTA assistance.

Speakers: Hon. Korey Wahwassuck, Minnesota District Court Judge, Ninth District; Hon. John P. Smith, Judge, Minnesota Court of Appeals; Jennifer Fahey, JD, MPA, Attorney and Consultant, Fahey Consulting; Allison Leof, Center for Evidence-based Policy, Oregon Health & Sciences University, and Project TEAM Manager.

Collaborative Approaches to Justice Information Sharing among Tribal, State and Local Justice Agencies

Download slides | Webinar Q & A | Intergovernmental Agreement


Many jurisdictions across the country are working to improve sharing of vital justice information across jurisdictional and agency boundaries. Tribal, local and state agencies are developing methods of sharing information related to management of sex offenders, homeland security and child welfare issues. This webinar highlights collaborative approaches to justice information sharing that respect tribal sovereignty and traditions while providing public safety to all citizens. Tribal law enforcement officials discussed efforts to share information across jurisdictional boundaries as partners in the Regional Organized Crime Information Center for the Southeastern United States and the East Valley Fusion Center in Phoenix, Arizona. A representative of the Regional Information Sharing System provided information about resources that facilitate criminal justice information sharing among tribal, state, and local justice agencies.

Speakers: Jeff L. Pierce, Deputy Director, Rocky Mountain Information Network; James Hendrickson, Lieutenant Citizen, Potawatomi Nation Police Department; and Matthew Dunn, Detective, Salt River Police Department Pima - Maricopa Indian Community.

Building Collaborative Relationships to Enhance Tribal-State-Local-Federal Public Safety Efforts

View webinar | Download slides | Transcript | Webinar Q & A | Bibliography

The Community Relations Service (CRS) is the US Department of Justice’s "peacemaker" for community conflicts and tensions arising from differences of race, color, and national origin. The CRS promotes the principles and ideals of non-discrimination and applies skills that allow parties to come to their own agreement. This webinar presents lessons learned and best practices used to assist participants who are building collaborative relationships in tribal-state-local-federal initiatives to sustain public safety. These best practices focus on: building collaborative, respectful relationships; understanding the values, culture and tradition of their neighbors; showing kindness and respect to each other; being open to learning and being educated; and learning the community’s economy, history, culture. The webinar also highlights resources available through the CRS and how to access them.

Speakers: Pascual Marquez, Region VII Director, The Community Relations Service, U.S. Department of Justice; and Dr . Grace Sage Musser, Conciliation Specialist, The Community Relations Service, U.S. Department of Justice.

Tribal Implementation of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) in 2014: Federal, Tribal, State and Local Perspectives

View webinar | Download slides | Transcript | Webinar Q & A

This webinar showcases SORNA implementation efforts underway in state, local, and tribal jurisdictions, highlighting the work of the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin, efforts at the state level in Colorado, and work underway between Colorado and two local tribes to coordinate further implementation across jurisdictions. The webinar also included an update from the Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART) Office and provides information on how to access training and technical assistance resources available to tribal jurisdictions for SORNA implementation.

Speakers: Allison Turkel, Senior Policy Advisor, SMART Office; Jim Warren, Consultant, Fox Valley, National Criminal Justice Training Center & Member, White Earth Ojibwe Nation; Warren Warrington, Master Sergeant, Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin; and Chris Lobanov-Rostovsky, Program Manager, Colorado Division of Criminal Justice. Moderator: Roger Przybylski, Consultant and Founder, RKC Group.

Tribal-State Corrections Collaboration Strategies for Meeting the Needs of Native Inmates

Download slides | Webinar Q & A | MOU

This webinar highlights three programs that blend native and state justice on innovative ways to improve state and tribal justice. First, staff of the Center for Court Innovation’s peacemaking pilot program at the Red Hook Community Justice Center discuss how traditional Native American practices are used to resolve disputes that originate in either the justice system or in the community. Next, justice officials from the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe in Akwesasne, New York discuss how the Healing to Wellness/Drug Court, housed under the Tribal Court, uses cultural traditions to restore and heal justice involved tribal members in collaboration with neighboring Courts. Lastly, representatives from the New Mexico Tribal–State Judicial Consortium and Cross Cultural Exchanges discuss how the Consortium contributes to collaboration among state and tribal courts.

Speakers: Coleta Walker, Peacemaker Associate Brett Taylor, Deputy Director, for Technical Assistance Center for Court Innovation; Hon. William E. Parnall District Court Judge, Second Judicial District Court (NM), Children's Court Division; Hon. William Bluehouse Johnson Chief Justice, Isleta Appellate Court (NM); Hon. P.J. Herne, Chief Judge St . Regis Mohawk Tribal Court, (Akwesasne , NY); and Heather Valdez Singleton Program Director Tribal Law & Policy Institute.

Tribal Access to Federal Criminal Justice Databases

Download slides | Webinar Q & A

It is important for tribal law-enforcement agencies and courts to have access to vital criminal justice information that can be used to protect their citizens and individuals residing in Indian Country. Tribes’ ability to access and manipulate this information allows tribal law enforcement to protect not only those within their borders, but members who live beyond the tribe’s external boundaries.

This webinar discusses tribal access to federal databases maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS). These critical national databases include the National Crime Information Center, Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System, and National Instant Criminal Background Check System. The webinar focuses on barriers that tribes face in gaining access to national databases and what steps tribes can take to help overcome these challenges.

Speakers: Chris Chaney Unit Chief Office of the General Counsel, Access Integrity Unit, FBI; Kimberly K. Lough Management and Program Analyst Criminal Justice Information Services Division, FBI; and Kirk Flerchinger, Sex Offender Registry Officer, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.

Defender Initiatives in Indian Country

Download slides | Webinar Q & A

While this is the 50th anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright, the landmark case that secured the right to government paid counsel in state criminal proceedings, many state, local and tribal justice officials are unaware that the right to free defense council does not apply in Indian Country. The 2010 Tribal Law and Order Act (TLOA) and the 2013 Reauthorization of the Violence Against Woman Act (VAWA) include provisions that affect not only tribal courts in general, but the indigent defender community specifically. This webinar discusses how recent legislation has affected tribal courts and the tribal defender community and will examine how two tribal defender initiatives are enhancing the provision of justice and improving perceptions of procedural fairness. This webinar will highlights the work of the Defenders Office of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes in Montana and the work of Anishinabe Legal Services, an Indian Legal Services program that serves the Leech Lake, White Earth and Red Lake Reservations in Northern Minnesota. In addition, this webinar discusses state and federal resources available to support indigent defense in tribal courts.

Speakers: Ann Sherwood, managing attorney with the Defenders Office of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai; Cody Nelson, co-executive director, Anishinabe Legal Services, Maha Jweied, senior counsel, Access to Justice Initiative within the US Department of Justice and Alex Sierck, project director, Center for Holistic Defense, a project of The Bronx Defenders.

Enhancing Cooperation: Tribal-State Public Safety Agreements

View webinar | Download slides | Transcript | Public safety agreements

This webinar, hosted by the National Congress of American Indians and NCJA, with support by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, focuses on tribal-state public safety agreements. These agreements include memoranda of understanding, cross-deputization agreements, and mutual-aid agreements. Presenters discuss the importance of tribes, states, and localities working together on public safety issues; addressed obstacles to cooperation; and highlighted best practices the Navajo Nation has used in forging these agreements in multiple states.

Speakers: Regina Holyan, Principal Attorney, Navajo Nation Department of Justice; and Major Larry Scarber, Southern Patrol Bureau Commander, Arizona Department of Public Safety.

TLOA Tribal Justice Plan: An Overview & Update on Implementation

View webinar | Download slides

The webinar provided an overview of the Tribal Justice Plan, the Work Group structure, and accomplishments to date. Representatives from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and BIA provided updates of the significant progress made on implementing recommendations and continuing discussions to implement remaining recommendations.

Speakers: A. Elizabeth Griffith Associate Deputy Director for Policy, BJA; Darren A. Cruzan Deputy Bureau Director, BIA; and James Antal Deputy Associate Administrator, OJJDP

Untangling the Web: Understanding Criminal Jurisdiction in Indian Country and the Role of Tribal Sovereignty

View webinar | Download slides

This webinar focuses on tribal sovereignty and interaction between tribes and states in the criminal justice context. Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) provides opening remarks about the importance of state and tribal collaboration. Guest speaker Kevin Washburn, enrolled member of the Chickasaw Nation and current Dean of the University of New Mexico School of Law, presents the ins and outs of criminal jurisdiction in Indian Country and how the jurisdictional rules create the need for cooperation between state, local, federal and tribal law enforcement, courts, and victim and offender services.

Speakers: Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) and Kevin Washburn, Dean, University of NM School of Law.

The Tribal Law & Order Act & Its Implications For Justice Systems in Indian Country

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This webinar focuses on the recently enacted Tribal Law & Order Act and its implications for states and tribes. John Harte, enrolled member of the San Felipe Pueblo and former Policy Director of the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, presents on key provisions of the Tribal Law & Order Act and the types of intergovernmental coordination necessary for successful implementation.

Speakers: John Harte, Mapetsi Policy Group and John Dossett, National Congress of American Indians.

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