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Tribal Guardianship Code Development Project

Award Information

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

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2012, $62,000)

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.

The Native American Disability Law Center proposes to draft an Adult Guardianship Act for the Navajo Nation. The Law Center will work with the Navajo Nation Advisory Council on Disabilities, the Navajo Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services, representatives of the Navajo disability community, and representatives from the Navajo government and court system to craft a culturally appropriate Act. The Act will clearly address a potential ward's right to due process. Stakeholders will include Navajo Nation Council delegates, tribal judges, prosecutors and members of the Navajo Departments of Justice and Social Services. Once the Navajo Adult Guardianship Code has been drafted, the Law Center will use it as a template to develop a Model Tribal Guardianship Code for use by tribal justice systems around the country. The Model Code will not reflect Navajo customs and traditions, and other tribes will be able to customize the code to reflect their own values and traditions.

Date Created: August 21, 2012