Tribal Advocate/Paralegal: Overview
The Legal Studies Department is an Indian Law Education Program developed to strengthen legal justice curricula at the tribal college level as well as increase the numbers of tribal members knowledgeable about Indian law. In 2008, the Legal Studies Department, formerly Project Peacemaker, continues as a congressional earmark to the Turtle Mountain Community College (TMCC).
Project Peacemaker began in 2000. The intent of the project was to increase the number of tribal members knowledgeable about Indian law. This was delivered through both academic and community forums.
Through the Turtle Mountain Community College, an Associate of Applied Science in Tribal Advocacy/Paralegal was designed for students interested in becoming a certified tribal advocate and/or paralegal. A 9 month certificate in legal studies was also designed and implemented.
At the community level, Project Peacemaker was instrumental in bringing tribal members together for the monumental task of the Turtle Mountain Constitutional Revision. Project Peacemaker has also provided training for the judicial branch (tribal court and judicial board) as well as newly elected tribal members in tribal government. In addition to trainings, Project Peacemaker has been active in consulting with tribal members to provide up to date tribal documents such as the Turtle Mountain Tribal Code and tribal court manuals.
In recent times, program analysis has revealed the growth of Project Peacemaker and called for the development of new goals. As a part of this new phase, Project Peacemaker has begun the transition of being adopted under the umbrella of the TMCC as the legal studies department- Indians Into Law.
The legal studies department- Indians Into Law, has 2 program options available: The Associate of Applied Science Tribal Advocacy/Paralegal and the 12 month certificate in Tribal Advocacy/Paralegal (see Admissions for requirements). All core legal specialty courses are offered online with some face to face interactions. At the present time, the legal studies department is preparing to embark on a new journey: accreditation for paralegals. Moreover, as Project Peacemaker prepares to transition under TMCC as the legal studies department, it simultaneously gives birth to the development of the Turtle Mountain Community College Tribal Justice Center (TJC). The TJC will focus on issues of justice for Indigenous Peoples, equipped with a research department and available as a community resource for conferences and trainings.
“Who I Am”
Often times, tribal members leave the Turtle Mountains for various reasons and many began to ask the question “who am I”. This booklet was designed to keep tribal members in touch with who they are and where they come from... Who I Am booklet (1.27 MB PDF)