Tribal Courts – An Introduction

August 13, 2023


By Dr. William Sassman, M.Div, Ph.D.
[email protected]

(Guale, Yamassee, Comanche, Mechica, Creek, Seminole, Shushini, Akaiachak of Alaska, Mennefer Tanasi, Xi Anu Washitaw et al.)

Treaty of Camp Holmes, 24 August 1835, 7 Stat. 474.) United Nations Indigenous Peoples Organizational # 215/1993

A Tribal Law Corporation under Section 17, Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, committed to granting tribal jurisdiction to those who qualify as separate sovereigns


The Native American culture is highly spiritual and places a great emphasis on the respect for Mother Earth, Father Sky, Grandfather Sun and Grandmother Moon as well as all living and non-living objects.

1. Rise with the sun to pray. Pray alone. Pray often. The Great Spirit will listen, if you only speak.

2. Be tolerant of those who are lost on their path. Ignorance, conceit, anger, jealousy and greed stem from a lost soul. Pray that they will find guidance.

3. Search for yourself, by yourself. Do not allow others to make your path for you. It is your road, and yours alone. Others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you.

4. Treat the guests in your home with much consideration. Serve them the best food, give them the best bed and treat them with respect and honor.

5. Do not take what is not yours whether from a person, a community, the wilderness or from a culture. It was not earned nor given. It is not yours.

6. Respect all things that are placed upon this earth – whether it be people or plant.

7. Honor other people’s thoughts, wishes and words. Never interrupt another or mock or rudely mimic them. Allow each person the right to personal expression.

8. Never speak of others in a bad way. The negative energy that you put out into the universe will multiply when it returns to you.

9. All persons make mistakes. And all mistakes can be forgiven.

10. Bad thoughts cause illness of the mind, body and spirit. Practice optimism.

11. Nature is not for us, it is a part of us. They are part of your worldly family.

12. Children are the seeds of our future. Plant love in their hearts and water them with wisdom and life’s lessons. When they are grown, give them space to grow.

13. Avoid hurting the hearts of others. The poison of your pain will return to you.

14. Be truthful at all times. Honesty is the test of ones will within this universe.

15. Keep yourself balanced. Your Mental self, Spiritual self, Emotional self, and Physical self, all need to be strong, pure and healthy. Work out the body to strengthen the mind. Grow rich in spirit to cure emotional ailments.

16. Make conscious decisions as to who you will be and how you will react. Be responsible for your own actions.

17. Respect the privacy and personal space of others. Do not touch the personal property of others, especially sacred and religious objects. This is forbidden.

18. Be true to yourself first. You cannot nurture and help others if you cannot nurture and help yourself first.

19. Respect others religious beliefs. Do not force your belief on others.

20. Share your good fortune with others. Participate in charity.

See more at: http://humansarefree.com/2015/01/native-american- traditional-code-of.html#sthash.HBz9Tg5P.dpuf

CIVIL RULES OF THE TRIBAL COURT OF EQUITY OF THE YAMASSEE NATIVE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF NATIONS – a court that can be held anywhere, including cyberspace, in the interests of expediency, urgency and contingency in the pursuit of truth and justice:

Initiating an Action

The person who initiates an action (Complainant) against another (Respondent) shall file a Complaint addressed to the Tribal Court and the Respondent by outlining the cause(s) of action accompanied by an Affidavit of Facts (who, what, when, where, why) within 100 words. No opinions or observations are required. Just the bare and plain facts.

The Complaint shall not exceed ten pages; use of font 14 preferred, double-spaced; and shall state in concise terms the nature of the injury or harm sustained; statements from witnesses; photographs; emails; letters; videos; in support of the claims as alleged, and the relief sought.

After the Complaint is filed in the Tribal Court, the Complainant shall serve upon the Respondent a certified court-stamped copy of the Complaint and retain proof of service whether by personal delivery through a process server; by certified or registered mail; or by publication in the media.

Respondent’s Duty To Answer The Complaint

Within 21 days of receipt of the Complaint (Order To Show Cause/Confession of Judgment/Cognovit /Default Money-Judgment triggered), the Respondent shall answer the claims and charges asserted and alleged by the Complainant with a copy of the Response sent to the Court and to the Complainant. Failure to do so will result in a Default Judgment and the award of a money judgment as prayed for by the Complainant. Justice delayed is justice denied.

The Respondent shall answer every cause of action as specified in the Complainant’s Complaint.

The Respondent may wish to counter-claim and challenge every cause of action as set forth by the Complainant with affidavits from witnesses, photographs, letters, emails, videos, and other verifiable articles of evidence and proof of facts.

Sua Sponte Action By the Tribal Court

The Court shall examine the documents filed by both the Complainant and the Respondent, and others such as witnesses or Co-Respondents, hereinafter “Parties.”.

The Court may issue a Judicial Affidavit Rule (JAR) with questions posed to the Parties in its quest for further and better particulars unless affidavits by the Parties and other witnesses suffice as to the establishment of all facts, details, particular, proof, and evidence.

The JAR is designed to save time and other resources to obviate the need for a physical trial where travel, hotel accommodation, and car rentals may become necessary, onerous, and expensive.

The JAR, if required, will be reviewed by a Panel of Tribal Elders who will also serve as jurors to find the truth of the matter as alleged by the Parties based on available facts, details, particulars, proof and evidence.

The Court must receive from the Parties Answers to the JAR within 21 days.

Once the Answers to the JAR are received by the Court, deliberations will begin to arrive at a solution that will be fair, just and equitable to the Parties..

The Court may request the presence of the Parties only if utterly required, but will endeavor to avoid such court appearances which can otherwise be satisfactorily accomplished through emails and written Responses.

Rules of Evidence

Tribal Law is primarily concerned with arriving at the truth in order to render justice to the Parties based upon God’s Law, Ancient Tribal Codes defining moral codes of conduct, Natural Law, and the law of common sense and equity. Federal Indian Law and the common law may be invoked if and when found to be consistent with God’s Law, Ancient Tribal Codes and Natural Law.

No fact shall be challenged on the grounds of immateriality, prejudice and irrelevance. Fair hearing is supreme. All facts will be examined.

Technical errors, a deadline missed, a missed word, wrong grammar, failure to state a fact which is omitted shall not be used against the Parties in the quest for the truth when that forgotten fact can make all the difference. Leeway will be given to the Parties without penalty.

The Court shall religiously adhere to and comply with the Maxims of Equity as set forth hereunder:

1. Equity will not suffer a wrong without a remedy.

2. Equity follows the law.

3. Where there is equal equity, the law shall prevail.

4. Where the equities are equal, the first in time shall prevail.

5. He who seeks equity must do equity.

6. He who comes into equity must come with clean hands.

7. Delay defeats equities.

8. Equality is equity.

9. Equity looks to the intent rather than the form.

10. Equity looks on that as done which ought to be done.

11. Equity imputes an intention to fulfil an obligation.

12. Equity acts in personam – availing of a person, not a thing.

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