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Prepared by Lisa Jaeger Tribal Government Specialist Tanana Chiefs Conference, Inc. Fairbanks 1-800-478-6822

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Presentation on theme: "Prepared by Lisa Jaeger Tribal Government Specialist Tanana Chiefs Conference, Inc. Fairbanks 1-800-478-6822"— Presentation transcript:

1 Prepared by Lisa Jaeger Tribal Government Specialist Tanana Chiefs Conference, Inc. Fairbanks

2 “Written laws are like tracks in the snow. They are evidence of tribal activity” Will Mayo Past President of Tanana Chiefs Conference

3 Terminology u Ordinance Code Act Statute u Code u Codification

4 Functions of Ordinances u Provide details for tribal government structures and procedures (I.e. tribal court structure, election procedures) u Outline the laws that the tribal government will enforce (I.e. curfew and vandalism of tribal property) u Regulate activities in the village (I.e. the taking of artifacts and environmental regulation) u Provide for a smooth flow of government and continuity between administrations u Promote respect from other governments and institutions u Protect Native cultural uniqueness if appropriately drafted

5 General Considerations u Tribes that have more lengthy and detailed constitutions need more tribal government structure and procedure ordinances than those with short constitutions u In villages where there is no city government, tribes are generally handling more issues and therefore need more ordinances u Tribes in Alaska vary widely in ordinance development, and some have none, very few, or outdated ordinances

6 u The structure and general procedures for tribal courts should be written in ordinances if they are not in the constitution.  Written ordinances should clearly outline guidelines for types of cases the court will handle, laws the tribal court is expected to enforce, and provide guidelines for making decisions

7 Codification - Organization If a tribe only has a few ordinances, they are easy to keep track of and find without putting them into a special order. If a tribe has many ordinances, however, they need to be put into a systematic format so that they can be easily accessed. Codification is the systematic organization of laws. A tribal ‘code’ or ‘code of ordinances’ is the collection of tribal ordinances. Written Laws may be arranged into: Titles Chapters Sections Ordinances commonly have the following pattern: name purpose definitions body

8 Overview of Types of Tribal Ordinances Two basic kinds of ordinances: u Those that set up structures and procedures for the tribal government enforced by tribal councils and by political pressure from tribal members u Those that regulate activities and behaviors, enforced by tribal councils and courts Possible Tribal Codes u Title 1: Tribal Government Structures and Procedures u Title 2: Law and Order u Title 3: Domestic Relations u Title 4: Health and Safety u Title 5: Land Management u Title 6: Natural and Cultural Resources u Title 7: Tribal Business Operations

9 Tribal Government Structures and Procedures Ordinances u Old IRA constitutions don’t describe the structure of the government, so that could go under this category. (i.e.Structure of the council, number of members, qualifications, quorums, terms, recall, removal, etc.) u Other constitutions may either be missing these elements or need more details provided by having an ordinance on these things: Relation of unwritten law to written law Jurisdiction of the tribe Policies on sovereign immunity Procedure for adopting, amending and repealing ordinances Ethic standards for tribal council and officials

10 Types of meetings, notification of meetings, quorums for tribal meetings Elections procedures Popular participation in government, initiative, referendum, recall, removal Rights of members Membership and enrollment Cooperative agreements Tribal court structure Tribal court procedures Appellate court structure and procedures

11 Civil Law and Order Ordinances u Jurisdiction for Alaska tribes is less secure for handling these types of cases than it is for child custody for example, but it is much easier to assert jurisdiction when approaching these issues as civil than as criminal  Some tribes have agreements with the state for handling juvenile law and order cases, others handle these cases without a written agreement u Types of Ordinances include: Underage drinking Trespass Vandalism Theft Minor assaults

12 Truancy Juvenile curfew Disorderly conduct Animal control Traffic - speeding and such Regulating firearm use in the village Alcohol regulation

13 Domestic Relations Ordinances Child custody disputes and formalizing agreements Child protection Terminating parental rights Foster home licensing Adoptions Guardianships Marriage Divorce/annulment Probate Elder Protection Domestic Violence

14 Health and Safety Ordinances u Animal Control u Abandoned Vehicles u Nuisances u Fireworks u Environmental regulation Solid waste Littering Burn barrels Hazardous waste Hazardous materials Outhouses and human waste Water quality

15 Land Management Ordinances u Types of ordinances include: Council powers over land issues Rights of tribal members and land use Acquisition of land procedures Managing tribally owned lands Tribal land assignments Land use planning policies and procedures

16 Natural and Cultural Resources Ordinances u Types of ordinances include: Artifacts and Human remains Cultural use of Wildlife Protocol for Research on the tribe, tribal land, and tribal cultural resources Management policies and procedures for natural resources

17 Tribal Business Ordinances u Types of ordinances include: TERO – Tribal Employment Rights Ordinance Management policies and procedures for tribal businesses

18 Procedures and Issues of Concern for Adopting, Amending, and Repealing Ordinances u A tribe’s legislative powers are typically exercised by the tribal councils u The full council may work on ordinances, or they may assign a special committee or individual to prepare drafts for full council review u Unlike city governments, tribal councils have no required formal procedure for working with ordinances u However, many councils have adopted or are considering adopting an ordinance outlining such procedures, including posting notice and allowing tribal members an opportunity to speak

19 u If a tribe is just beginning ordinance work, the first decision is to determine which approach to take: a whole code, one title at a time, or one ordinance at a time u Information about the ordinance topic should be collected, including sample ordinances from other tribes and governments. u In drafting ordinances, the services of a skilled consultant may or may not be needed, however, proposed ordinances should be reviewed by tribal legal counsel u Typically, the full council meets in an open council meeting to review a draft ordinance in detail. u The council may hold a community meeting to discuss an ordinance proposal, especially on controversial issues.

20 u It is a good idea to require a super majority vote, such as 6 out of 7, to adopt, amend, or repeal ordinances. u Ordinances may contain language that requires them to be sent to a vote of the tribal members in order to amend or repeal them. u The adoption of ordinances is formalized by a resolution or by signatures on a certificate of adoption. u Tribal ordinances should be made available to the community and not just filed away in council offices. It is also a good idea to send copies of adopted ordinances to an agency outside the village for long term record keeping.

21 Computers and Internet Resources u The ability to use a word processing program is critical to ordinance development u If you use a consultant, compatibility of word processing programs between the tribal computer and the consultant’s is essential, also get electronic versions as well as hard copies of Codes produced. u There are many ways to organize tribal codes on the computer. Each ordinance could be in a file, or, each title could be in a file. u The internet is a great source for finding tribal ordinances from the Lower 48 tribes u The amount of information on the internet about Indian tribes and law is exploding. Many tribes have their codes available on the internet!

22 Use of Consultants for Code Development u Wise use of consultants, legal or otherwise, and consultation with tribal Elders is recommended u If there is any question about legal issues, tribal attorneys should be consulted, preferably the one/s who would represent the tribe in the event that a legal battle occurs u Recommendations for consultant credentials: Ability to clearly communicate with the council both orally and in writing Flexibility to produce what the tribe wants, rather than what they want Knowledgeable about village life as well as knowledge about federal Indian law An understanding of the relationship between written and unwritten tribal law Experience in working with Alaska tribes in ordinance drafting A sense of humor helps a lot


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