Civil Jurisdiction on Tribal Land

Civil jurisdiction on tribal lands has been established in part through case law with, Williams v. Lee 1959, where non-Indian v. Indian cases were decidedly and exclusively for the Tribal Court; and, Indian v. Non-Indian cases were, through Montana v. U.S. case decision, given to the Tribal Court for jurisdiction.

Joel West Williams, a Staff Attorney at the Native American Rights Fund and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas. He obtained degrees in Psychology and Religious Studies from Naropa University. At Naropa, he was awarded the President’s Leadership Scholarship and his senior project in the religious studies department focused on Cherokee history and religion.

Joel attended Widener University School of Law, where he was a student attorney at the environmental law clinic and represented citizen groups pursuing lawsuits under the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Administrative Procedures Act. He was also awarded a certificate of achievement by Joseph R. Biden.

We are extremely pleased to have someone of his background speak on such an important issue. In this CLE video clip, Joel discusses tribal civil jurisdiction.

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Even when dispute arises off Indian land, the tribe has concurrent jurisdiction where both parties are Indian.

For more on Civil Jurisdiction on Tribal Land, check out the full video with Joel West Williams from