Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Prof. Fortson presents on tribal court jurisdiction at 32nd annual Tribal Courts conference

Prof. Fortson presenting
at the conference.
Prof. Ryan Fortson, J.D., Ph.D., Legal Studies faculty in the Justice Center, presented at the 32nd Annual Alaska Tribal Court Conference, August 4-6, in Fairbanks.  He discussed tribal court jurisdiction as a panelist for the session, "Domestic Violence, Developing Issues: What Can Tribes Do?" His co-panelists were Natalie Landreth, Attorney, Native American Rights Fund (NARF); Judge David Avraham Voluck, Magistrate/Judge for the Central Council of the Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes, Associate Judge for the Sitka Tribe of Alaska, and Presiding Judge Pro Tem for the Aleut Community of St. Paul Island Tribal Government; and Paul Mountain, Tribal Administrator, Nulato.

2015 conference cover.
Prof. Fortson discussed his Alaska Law Review article, "Advancing Tribal Court Criminal Jurisdiction in Alaska" (June 2015). He refers to the case of John v. Baker and the development of Indian law in the Lower 48, and argues Alaska tribes already possess inherent jurisdiction over criminal offenses within their Native villages. Moreover, with the gamut of social challenges facing Alaska Natives in rural Alaska, tribes need to be empowered to exercise this jurisdiction.

Participants included state and tribal court judges, court clerks, tribal administrators, Native village representatives, as well federal and state agency representatives.  The event was hosted by the Tanana Chiefs Conference  (TCC).

The conference is funded by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Bureau of Indian Affairs through the National Tribal Judicial Center at the National Judicial College, Tanana Chiefs Conference, and the University of Alaska Fairbanks Tribal Management Program.

Program materials from the conference are available on the Tanana Chiefs Conference website.