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Legal Information: Tribal

Tribal Law

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March 12, 2010

What do I do if the abuser violates the order?

You can call the police. Violation of a protection order is contempt of court. The courts have the power to punish people for contempt when they disobey orders of the court or disrupt judiciary proceedings.

If the judge finds that your abuser violated the terms of your protection order, (s)he can find your abuser in contempt of court and fine or jail him, according to your own Tribal Code.

Note: Tribes do not have criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians. Tribal police do have authority to stop, detain and transport non-Indian offenders to state or federal authorities who have criminal jurisdiction over non-Indian crimes. In addition, some tribes use their civil laws to impose civil fines or orders of exclusion to escort non-Indian abusers off tribal lands.

Possible options for punishment of non-Indians are fines, excluding him from appearing in your court, and excluding him from your tribal lands (keeping in mind that with all these options the abuser would still be granted due process of law, such as notice, a hearing and opportunity to be heard.)*

* Family Violence and American Indians/Alaska Natives: A report to the Indian Health Service of Women's Health, Oct. 2002, available at