The creation of the Tribe’s judicial system is an important step in the evolution of the Tribe’s government. The idea of a Tribal Court, initiated by the Tribe and not the federal government, was first suggested by a Tribal Council member as far back as 1948.
The first hurdle that needed to be cleared was a financial one. With the development of the Tribe’s casino and its related business entities, that hurdle has been cleared. Title 5, Article II, Chapter 1, Section 5-2103 of the Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa Tribal Code, states as follows: “Except where limited by laws of the Tribe, it shall be the objective of the Tribal Court and the duty of all judges and justices of the Tribal Court in resolving all matters before the Tribal Court to discover and determine the truth and, to the extent possible, to seek a resolution which restores balance to the community in accordance with the customs and traditions of the Tribe, repairs relationships, results in fairness, and avoids principles of retribution and punishment.”
The Meskwaki pride themselves on being a traditional people, and the idea of adopting an Anglo-Saxon court system was difficult to accept by many and presented the next hurdle to be cleared. However, it was also recognized by tribal members that they were in need of a system to resolve disputes, especially internal disputes, which can only be resolved by the Tribe. That being understood, the Tribal Council, guided by the wishes of the membership, created a set of laws that reflect not only an understanding of how a court system works, but also established a foundation for the Court to follow that incorporates Meskwaki beliefs, values, customs and traditions.
8:00 AM- 4:30 PM
307 Meskwaki Rd
Tama, IA 52339