Michigan Tribal State Federal Judicial Forum to meet in Sault Ste. Marie

The Michigan Tribal State Federal Judicial Forum will convene November 16-17-during national Native American Heritage Month-in Sault Ste. Marie to further its work in the area of Indian child welfare and domestic violence crimes.

"Our goal is to continue building and strengthening relationships among Michigan's tribal, state and federal courts," said Justice Bridget M. McCormack, who serves as the Supreme Court Justice Liaison on tribal issues. "By working together, we can make sure that children and families benefit from a unified and seamless approach that protects their health and welfare."

Created by Michigan Supreme Court Administrative Order 2014-12, the Forum will be meeting for the third time since adopting its charter last fall in Petoskey. The Forum is co-chaired by the Hon. Timothy Connors, 22nd Circuit Court, and the Hon. Allie Greenleaf Maldonado, Chief Judge of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians.

At its upcoming meeting, the Forum will engage in strategic planning and goal setting, address current issues surrounding Indian child welfare, and share information about using federal law to prosecute domestic violence crimes in Indian Country. The Director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Office of Native American Affairs will share information about that office's services and data on Indian child welfare in Michigan.

During its first year, the Forum has added three federal representatives: Federal Magistrate Timothy Greeley, and Assistant United States Attorneys Jeff Davis and Hannah Bobee.

The Forum consists of the chief tribal judges of each of Michigan's 12 federally recognized tribes, or their designated alternate judges, and 10 state court judges, who are appointed by the Michigan Supreme Court from among a pool of currently serving or retired Michigan judges or justices. Retired Supreme Court Justice Michael Cavanagh continues to serve as a member.

In addition to conducting its regular business, Forum members will receive a tour of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe's Tribal Court from Chief Judge Jocelyn Fabry, and will receive peacemaking training with Kay Pranis. As part of its national tribal and child welfare initiatives, the Casey Family Programs Foundation will sponsor the meeting.

For more information visit www.courts.mi.gov/tribalcourts.

Published: Mon, Nov 16, 2015