Skip to content
Back to top

Tribal Courts Aim to Heal

May 6, 2013

By Callie Shanafelt
California Health Report

Advocates for Native American survivors of intimate violence cheered when they won the right to prosecute non-Indian assailants in tribal court. That change came with a provision in the Violence Against Women Act earlier this year. On at least one slice of California sovereign tribal land, the change also means defendants will have to engage with a very different criminal justice system – one that is based on restorative justice.

“What you’re trying to do is resolve a problem,” Yurok Tribal Judge Abby Abinanti explained of their tribal court’s guiding principle. “There must be a consequence for a bad act. You work through the consequence, and if they’re amenable to it, make it up to the victim.”

Full article: