Tribal Advocate/Paralegal

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).

Summary

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)

Admission

Academic year 2008-2009

Indian Law Cohort
The Legal Studies Department-Indians Into Law is recruiting candidates for the 2008-09 academic year. All students must apply and be accepted to the Turtle Mountain Community College and must have completed prerequisites prior to enrollment in the Legal Studies Department.

For further information on admissions, please call Terri at 701.477.7981 or email tmartinparisien@tm.edu.

What is a Paralegal?
Paralegals and Legal Assistants (link to U.S. Department of Labor

What is a Tribal Advocate?
Rules of Professional Conduct for Attorneys & Advocates (2.92 MB PDF)

Former Peacemaker (Legal Studies) students speak out:

“I feel it (Peacemaker) prepares students or potential students very well for paralegal studies. The services offered through the program are exceptional and well coordinated. Materials provided are also very useful.”

“I have always been interested in the law. I am really glad to have been a part of Project Peacemaker and I hope the program continues.”

“I enrolled in Project Peacemaker to learn about the law, tribal law. I was tired of elbowing the person next to me to ask whether they (others) could do that.”

Areas of Study

The Department of Legal Studies currently offers an Associate of Applied Science in Tribal Advocacy/Paralegal and a Certificate in Legal Studies. The core legal studies courses are a hybrid of online courses with some face to face interaction.

A.A.S. Tribal Advocate/Paralegal

The Associate of Applied Science degree is designed for beginning students, or for those who have not yet earned a degree. Beginning in the fall of 2008, all legal studies students will need to complete the prerequisites of Composition II and Public Speaking prior to enrollment in the legal studies courses.

The Associate of Applied Science Tribal Advocacy/Paralegal degree will allow a graduate to apply for licensure with the Turtle Mountain Judicial Board to practice in the Turtle Mountain Tribal Court as a tribal advocate. Tribal advocates can also apply for licenses from other tribal jurisdictions, dependent upon the qualifications of each tribal nation. Graduates of the Associate of Applied Science degree will also have skills to perform duties as a paralegal within a law firm or other law environment.

Graduates of the Legal Studies Department should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a basic understanding of tribal, state, and federal court systems, as well as civil and criminal jurisdictions.
  • Understand how to analyze tribal, state and federal statutes.
  • Identify legal issues and remedies.
  • Prepare legal Memoranda and briefs using logical analysis and proper citation forms.
  • Thoroughly research legal issues using primary and secondary legal research tools.
  • Prepare and conduct a trial in a professional manner including the use of interviews, records, photos and ethical behavior.

Certificate in Legal Studies

The certificate in legal studies is available to students who have already met all the general education requirements. There are a total of 34 credit hours in the core legal studies program, or the equivalent of 12 month program, including 1 summer. In the Spring of 2009 students will begin with Introduction to Legal Studies and Ethics. This is followed by 12 legal specialty credit hours in the fall and 16 legal specialty credit hours in the spring. An internship of 120 hours is completed the following summer session. Students who earn this certificate can apply for licensure to practice in the Turtle Mountain Tribal Court system as well as other tribal court systems.

Courses

Certificate

The certificate in Tribal Advocate/Paralegal is designed for students who have already met the general education requirements and/or have obtained an Associate or Bachelor degree. The certificate can assist in providing a foundation to those students interested in attending law school. Students who earn this certificate can apply for licensure to practice in the Turtle Mountain Tribal Court system as well as other tribal court systems.

Beginning in the fall of 2008, all legal studies students will need to complete the prerequisites of ENGL 120 Composition II and COMM 110 Public Speaking prior to enrollment in the legal studies courses. There are a total of 34 credit hours in the core legal studies program. Students begin in the summer session with Introduction to Legal Studies and Ethics. This is followed by 12 legal specialty credit hours in the fall and 16 legal specialty credit hours in the spring. An internship of 120 hours is completed the following summer session.

Associate of Applied Science

The Associate of Applied Science degree is designed for beginning students, or for those who have not yet earned a degree. There are a total of 34 credit hours in the core legal studies program. In the Spring of 2009 students will begin with Introduction to Legal Studies and Ethics. This is followed by 12 legal specialty credit hours in the fall and 16 legal speciality credit hours in the spring. An internship of 120 hours is completed the following summer session.

The Associate of Applied Science Tribal Advocacy/Paralegal degree will allow a graduate to apply for licensure with the Turtle Mountain Judicial Board to practice in the Turtle Mountain Tribal Court as a tribal advocate. Tribal advocates can also apply for licenses from other tribal jurisdictions, dependent upon the qualifications of each tribal nation. Graduates of the Associate of Applied Science degree will also have skills to perform duties as a paralegal within a law firm or other law environment.

Resources

Tribal Paralegal Course Descriptions (89 KB PDF)

Community Events

None at this time.

Resource Links

Turtle Mountain Tribal Resources:

Other Resource Links: