About Intertribal Court of Southern California
The Intertribal Court of Southern California got its start in 2002 when an association of Tribal Chairmen’s received a U.S. Department of Justice grant. The court began operation in August of 2006. Each tribe determines which kinds of cases it will authorize the court to hear. Currently the court hears a wide variety of cases, including peace and security code violations, environmental issues, conservator issues, contracts, tort claims, family law including ICWA, evictions, enrollment, exclusions, and more. The court hears all evictions for the All Mission Indian Housing Association (AMIHA) and handles cases for several tribes not formally part of the tribal court consortium on a case-by-case basis.
The overall purpose of the Intertribal Court of Southern California as it presently exists is focused on the fundamental principle of providing members of participating Tribes with a culturally sensitive Judicial Forum in which to present and resolve disputes. The ICSC is an Intertribal Court System that works on a "circuit type" basis, where tribal judges travel from one reservation to the next presiding over cases based on specific Tribes' law’s ordinances, customs, and history.
The ICSC is an "independent judiciary" within Indian Country. Its purpose is to preserver the integrity, autonomy and sovereignty, of the Native American communities it serves in a culturally sensitive and traditionally aware environment.
Tribes are in period of rapidly changing political times and economic growth. Tribal Councils are being called upon to do more than ever. While they have essentially served in part as quasi-judicial bodies, growth and pursuit of equality demand they enhance both rights of the People within Indian Country and provide them with an unbiased and independent method of disputes resolutions.
By signing the Intertribal Governing Agreement (IGA) and passing a tribal resolution, Tribes utilize the ICSC system and its related services. Under the IGA, independently appointed Tribal Judicial Council whose members are appointed by participating Tribes governs the ICSC. Each Tribe elects their own Council Member.