This report summarizes the administration and operations of tribal court systems located in the lower 48 states, including the number and types of courts, subject- and person-level jurisdiction exercised, and sources of operational funding. The tables show the total percentage of tribal court systems that reported each item and subitem, as well as percentages categorized by resident population on the tribes’ reservation or land or in the tribes’ community.
- During 2014, about 234 tribal courts served federally recognized tribes in the lower 48 states, with approximately 80% serving 9,999 or fewer residents.
- Most (77%) tribal courts in the lower 48 states exercised both civil and criminal jurisdiction in 2014.
- About 72% of tribal courts exercised criminal jurisdiction over both tribal members and other persons, while less than a third (28%) exercised such jurisdiction over tribal members only.
- Most tribal court systems operating in the U.S. during 2014 reported having a formal court (99%), followed by an indigenous or a traditional court (23%), an intertribal court (10%), a joint jurisdiction state-tribal court (8%), or a tribal council serving as the judiciary (3%).
Part of the BJS Tribal Courts in the United States publication series. See BJS' National Survey of Tribal Court Systems (NSTCS) for related datasets.