American Indian Law

At its 2002-03 monthly meetings, the American Indian Law Committee discussed several issues that confronted the relationships between tribal courts, state courts, and federal courts. After the 2002 Michigan elections, the Committee felt it necessary to meet with the new Attorney General Michael Cox. The Committee scheduled a meeting for April 4, 2003 in Lansing to meet with the Attorney General. Unfortunately, Attorney General Cox was unable to attend. The Committee took the meeting opportunity to tour the Hall of Justice and to revisit the past work of the Committee with the host, Justice Michael Cavanagh. Prior to the April meeting, the Committee was advised to identify areas of focus for the coming months and years. The April 4, 2003 meeting was well attended. Several areas of focus were identified by the committee members and meeting guests. The suggested areas of focus for the Indian Law Committee for the coming months and years are:

  1. The Committee should continue to establish a working dialogue between the elected members of the Michigan Executive branch and the Committee.

  2. The Committee should study and initiate a method of allocation of jurisdiction between state and tribal courts. Wisconsin has implemented such a process to clarify conflicts and choices between state and tribal courts.

  3. The Committee must continue to work on jurisdictional issues that interfere with the enforcement of domestic violence laws and child protection laws. Although a great amount of work has been done in these two areas, the importance of these laws requires yearly review by the members of this Committee.

  4. The Committee urges its members and members of the Bar to write and publish articles of interest that relate to American Indian and tribal legal issues.

  5. The Committee urges its members to take part in those activities that promote the understanding of the jurisdiction of the American Law Committee of the State Bar of Michigan.