Tribal Courts: Practicing
Law in Indian Country
by Melissa Simonsen
A quick test.
1. How many Indian1 Reservations are there in
2. As a Washington licensed attorney, can you walk
into a tribal courthouse and practice law there?
3. If you are not an Indian, 2 and commit a crime on
the Reservation, where will you be booked into
4. If you are an Indian and commit a crime on the
Reservation, where will you be booked into jail?
5. If you are an Indian and criminal charges are filed
against you at the tribal courthouse, do you have
the right to an attorney?
“Root Diggers” a cut-steel sculpture by
The site is part of the Coulee Corridor
Scenic Byways tourism project which
has the goal of educating travelers and
providing a cultural experience along
WA 155 through the Colville Indian
Reservation. Photo by Spirit Peoples
Phew. For those of you who graduated with me and
took the 2007 Washington State Bar Exam, you may
remember the answers to some of these questions.
We were the first group required to examine Indian
law as a Bar Exam topic.