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Native American Rights Fund/National Association of Indian Legal Services - Tribal Civil Legal Assistance Project

Award Information

Award #
Awardee County
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2012, $850,659)

Authorized by 25 USC 3661 et seq., the BJA's Tribal Civil and Criminal Legal Assistance (TCCLA) Program serves to enhance tribal court systems and improve access to those systems through legal services; and to support the development and enhancement of tribal justice systems. Categories 1 and 2 were only open to non-profit organizations with a tax status of 501(c)(3) under the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Code, including tribal enterprises and educational institutions. The grants in categories 1 and 2 are designed to strengthen and improve the representation of indigent defendants in criminal cases and indigent respondents in civil causes of action under the jurisdiction of Indian tribes. For Category 3, eligible applicants were national or regional membership organizations and associations whose membership or a membership section consists of judicial system personnel within tribal justice systems. The award is designed to provide quality training and technical assistance to develop and enhance tribal justice systems.

The grant recipient will use funds to enhance the operations of tribal justice systems and improve access to those systems through the representation indigent respondents in civil causes of action under the jurisdiction of Indian tribes.

Tribal courts throughout Indian Country are under increasing pressure to grow and to provide a wider array of legal services for an increasing number of people. However, the number of attorneys on and near reservations available to represent those individuals and to develop those tribal courts is not keeping pace with the growth of and demands on the tribal courts. Twenty-five independent Native American Indian Legal Services (NAILS) programs exist to address those problems, and some of them have been doing so for more than 40 years. Through their association they share briefs, sample codes, best practice tips, and exchange ideas from a deep well of experience unmatched in Indian country. Through this project NAILS programs will continue to provide representation to individuals in the most pressing areas of civil law. NARF will also assist tribal courts directly in the subject areas they identify as most pressing to help them develop codes and procedures to meet the expanding needs for tribal justice systems and to further expand access to justice in tribal courts.

Date Created: August 21, 2012