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Information is current as of January 2021.

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Resource Directory: Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians

Tribal Court Address:

Grand Traverse Band Tribal Court, 2605 NW Bay Shore Drive, Peshabestown, MI 49682

231-534-7050, Fax: 231-534-7051


Tribal Organization:

  • Government formed 1979
  • Tribal Council term of office — 4 years
  • IRA Constitution enacted 1988
  • Number of Tribal members — approximately 4,000
  • Number of Tribal Council members — 7

Judicial Organization:

The Tribal Judiciary is a separate, independent branch of tribal government. The Tribal Court judges (chief judge and associate judge) are appointed by the Tribal Council to four-year terms; the three Tribal Appellate Court judges are appointed by the Tribal Council to six-year terms.

Current Tribal Court Personnel:

  • Chief Judge: Kenneth W. K. Akini
  • Associate Judge: Michael J. Long
  • Appellate Judges: JoAnne Cook
  • Matthew L. M. Fletcher
  • Matthew Massey
  • Court Administrator: Sherri Vezina
  • Court Clerk/Program Dir.: Carrie Leaureaux
  • Court Clerk/Bailiff: Eric Placer
  • Court Clerk/Assistant Probation Officer: Page Paul
  • Peacemaking: Available upon request to Court Admnr.
  • Adult Healing to Wellness Court: Andrea Arroyo
  • SDVCJ Project Coordinator: Anna Heiselman

Territorial Jurisdiction:

The Grand Traverse Band Tribal Court exercises jurisdiction pursuant to the Constitution and Tribal Code. The Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians tribal government is based on the reservation located in Peshawbestown, Michigan, but the tribe has trust property and tribally owned lands within the tribe’s six-county service area of Antrim, Benzie, Charlevoix, Grand Traverse, Leelanau, and Manistee counties.

Requirements for Practicing Before Tribal Court: Attorneys licensed in any state may practice before the Tribal Court. Tribal lay advocates with sufficient knowledge of the Tribal Constitution and Tribal Code may also practice before the court.

Intergovernmental Agreements:

The Grand Traverse Band has mutual assistance (cross-deputization) agreements for law enforcement with Antrim, Benzie, Charlevoix, and Leelanau counties; and also has agreements for jail space within each of those counties.

The Grand Traverse Band is a member of Chippewa-Ottawa Resource Authority (CORA), which regulates Great Lakes fishing by tribal members pursuant to a consent decree with the state of Michigan. The Grand Traverse Band also recently reached a consent decree agreement with the state of Michigan concerning regulation of inland hunting and fishing.

The Tribal Judiciary has adopted court rules (Chapter 10 of the GTBCR) regarding enforcement of foreign judgments that have been filed and recognized by the State Court Administrator’s Office pursuant to MCR 2.615.

Law and Procedures:

The Tribal Judiciary is governed by the provisions of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians Constitution, and the Grand Traverse Band Code. See the Native American Right Fund website (links to new window) for the most current Tribal Constitution and Tribal Code.

The Tribal Judiciary has adopted the Grand Traverse Band Tribal Court Rules (GTBCR). Copies of the court rules may be requested from the Court Clerk or on the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians website (links to new window).