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Nebraska Consortium of Tribal, State, and Federal Courts Engagement Sessions Delayed

Community engagement sessions in Scottsbluff and Rushville planned by the Nebraska Consortium of Tribal, State, and Federal Courts have been postponed again due to COVID-19 concerns. Initially scheduled in March of this year, these discussions between the Consortium and Native American communities were intended to be held in 2020. With COVID-19 still active, all large gatherings are postponed.  

The Members of the Nebraska Consortium of Tribal, State and Federal Courts include judges who sit on the trial and appellate benches in Nebraska’s tribal, state and federal courts, as well as community leaders.

All the members of the Consortium believe the importance of face-to-face communication cannot be underestimated for this process. It allows for real, honest connections – which is the main goal. The Consortium would rather delay the conversations than host them online.

Engagement sessions create an opportunity for Native American communities to share their thoughts and concerns about the court system in Nebraska, with the members of the Consortium, and with guest facilitator, former tribal and state court Judge William Thorne, Jr. (ret.) of the Pomo and Coast Miwok Tribes.  

Discussions are designed to enhance Native Americans’ public trust and confidence in the courts; improve the state and federal courts’ confidence in and understanding of the tribal court system; identify ways to address disparate treatment in the court system with a specific focus on addressing jurisdictional issues among the tribal, state and federal courts and law enforcement entities; and improve judicial awareness and training regarding the realities faced by Native American populations in Nebraska.

“By giving voice to our Native American communities and listening to the concerns of those who look to our tribal, state and federal courts to deliver swift, fair justice, we hope to improve the justice system in Nebraska and increase public trust and confidence in our courts,” said Justice Stephanie Stacy.

In November 2019, sessions were held in Omaha, Niobrara, Macy, and Winnebago, Nebraska.

The Nebraska Supreme Court approved the creation of a Consortium on Tribal State and Federal Courts in August 2018 – the public engagement project is the first major undertaking of the Consortium. More information can be found on the Consortium on Tribal State and Federal Courts: