Tribal court clerks are the backbone of tribal courts and are essential to the success within the judicial branch of government. This self-study course will address a clear relationship between the history and purpose of tribal courts and the role of the court clerk, discuss the role and tools of the court clerk, and apply these tools in a step-by-step case walkthrough of a civil case for those clerks who want to increase their confidence when processing a case.


  1. Identify sources of Indian law that may be applicable to a tribal court;
  2. Discuss how these sources of Indian law may impact the role of the court clerk;
  3. Differentiate between the different types of tribal courts that exist in the United States;
  4. Define tribal sovereignty and why it is important for tribal courts and the court clerk;
  5. Identify and recognize the role and duties of a court clerk;
  6. Recognize authoritative guidelines that can exist in a tribal court;
  7. Explain the components of a service oriented court;
  8. Identify customers by defining internal and external customers;
  9. Discuss technology policies in a tribal court;
  10. Define the necessary tools of the trade;
  11. List procedures when handling new court documents;
  12. Discuss the importance of a records management system;
  13. Describe how to cover a case from initiation to destruction;
  14. Recognize how to follow a financial procedure by following an authoritative guideline;
  15. Apply proper tools and identified procedures when creating a new case file;
  16. Identify safety risks and the need for a safety plan for a tribal court;
  17. Apply proper tools and identified procedures when setting and notifying the appropriate parties of a hearing;
  18. List and apply duties prior to the hearing date, during the hearing, and after a hearing is concluded;
  19. Distinguish the difference between a jury or bench trial; and
  20. Identify steps to consider once a case has been concluded, including if an appeal has been filed.
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