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'Tribal Justice' Focuses On Tribal Court Chief Justices In California

By Steve Goldstein
Published: Monday, August 21, 2017 - 3:29pm
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(Photo via Twitter)
Anne Makepeace

The first iteration of tribal courts in the U.S. came late in the 19th century when they were established by the Interior Department.

But the greater progress emerged in 1934 with the implementation of the Indian Reorganization Act.

Though there were concerns about how independent the courts were allowed to be, advocates believe it was an important step in allowing Native American tribes to operate their own court systems.

A documentary called "Tribal Justice" focuses on a pair of tribal court Chief Judges currently serving in California. The tribes are the Yurok and Quechan, and the Chief Judges are Abby Abinante and Claudette White.

Anne Makepeace is the filmmaker behind "Tribal Justice." She traveled from her home in Connecticut to produce the film in California. I recently spoke with her and started the conversation by asking how she felt after meeting Judges Abinante and White for the first time.

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