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Volume 1 :
The impaci of Public Law 280
upon the Adminisiration of Justice
on Indian Reservations
JUSTICE AND THE AMERICAN INDIAN
The Impact of Public Law 280 upon the Administration
The National American Indian Court Judges Association was founded with the
of Criminal Justice on Indian Reservations
NATIONAL AMERICAN INDIAN
o To improve the American Indian Court System throughout the United States
o To provide for the upgrading of the Court System through research, profes.
sional advancement and continuing education.
To further tribal and public knowledge and understanding of the American
To maintain and improve the integrity and capability of the American Indian
o To conduct any and all research and educational activities for the purpose of
promoting the affairs and achieving the objectives of Indian Courts and of the
In the forty years since passage of the Wheeler-Howard (Indian Reorganization) Act and the birth of Indian courts as we now know them, "the germ of future problems", then planted, has grown and multiplied. That germ -- the confused and limited scope of Indian court jurisdiction -- forms the core of this fivepart study, made possible by a grant award from the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration of the Department of Justice.
This project set out with one clearly identifiable goal: to foster and stimulate thought and investigation by all appropriate parties towards the end of formulating and applying specific remedies to the pressing legal and judicial problems we discuss. We set out to accomplish our goal by attempting: 1) to reflect the concerns of those people who must live with the recurrent law and order problems on indian reservations; and 2) to provide a vehicle for the expression of possible alternatives to the present System.
The first element of this program was accomplished through extensive interviewing. Over 500 Indians in more than 55 tribes were personally interviewed during the course of this project. The second element required a decision to produce'a set of documents which would be more than a mere restatement of current law. Legislative, judicial, and administrative alternatives to present methods have, therefore, been included. All were reviewed by knowledgeable persons prior to publication. We hope these alternatives will form the springboard for future discussion and action, whether they or similar proposals are adopted or not. Numerous points of view were, of necessity, included in this study in order to generate healthy discussion. The views and opinions in these documents, however, do not necessarily represent the position of the Yakima Indian Nation, the Nationa American Indian Cour Judges Association, or its members.
We believe the publications in this study will be valuable aids to Indian Court Judges and others in the criminal justice system. They are beginnings, not conclusions. How valuable they will prove will depend upon the actions of those who read them. The call is out. Let us hope it will be heard.