Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can the Tribal Prosecutor represent me/advise me in a criminal/civil case I have in Tribal/Federal/State court?
A: No. The Tribal Prosecutor acting in their official capacity does not represent private individuals; she/he represents the People of the Tribe as a whole in criminal cases and child welfare cases.
Q: I’ve been a victim/witness of a crime, who do I report this to?
A: If the situation is an emergency you should call 911, if the situation is a not an emergency you should call Tribal Law Enforcement to report a crime.
Q: I have a case pending in state court; can the case be transferred to Tribal Court?
A: If you case is a child welfare proceeding then it is possible to transfer the case to Tribal Court, if your case involves an adult criminal matter then currently there is no method of transferring your case to Tribal Court.
Q: My children have been removed from my care, who decides where they are placed?
A: The placement of children is determined by the Tribal Social Services Department and Tribal Court according to the placement preferences set forth in the Tribe’s Child Protection Statute.
Q: I am having problems with my Social Services case worker, can the Tribal Prosecutor do something about my issues?
A: The Tribal Prosecutor does not oversee or manage the Tribal Social Services Program. The Tribal Prosecutor works with the Social Services program on each child welfare case, but does not have any authority on the assignment of social workers or day-to-day decisions on case service plans.
Q: What is the Indian Child Welfare Act and when does it apply?
A: The Indian Child Welfare Act is a federal law which applies to state child protection proceedings involving Indian children. ICWA gives authority to tribes to intervene in child welfare proceedings where the child has been placed out of the home; a tribe may also request that the case be transferred to tribal court from state court. The Indian Child Welfare Act does not apply to child protection proceedings that arise in tribal courts.
Q: I am the subject of a child protection investigation by a state agency; can the Tribal Prosecutor help me with my case?
A: The Tribal Prosecutor can intervene in child protection proceedings involving children who are tribal citizens or who are eligible to be tribal citizens which are initiated in state court; the Tribal Prosecutor also has the authority to request transfer of those cases from state court to Tribal Court.
Q: Does the Indian Child Welfare Act apply to custody disputes between parents?
A: The Indian Child Welfare Act does not apply to custody disputes between a child’s parents.
Q: How do I get copies of police reports?
A: The Tribal Police and the Tribal Prosecutor have developed a policy regarding the release of police reports. The Tribal Police will only release police reports to the individual that filed the report and only after there has been some disposition in the case, i.e. charges were filed; the case was declined, etc. The reason for limiting the release of a police report until after such a decision is made is to protect the integrity of the investigation while an investigation is still ongoing.