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Tuesday, September 12, 2023

7:00am - 8:00am

Registration/Check In

Location: Ballroom Foyer

8:30am - 8:45am 


Location: Catalina / Madera/ Pasadena

  • Welcome Remarks from the Tribal Law and Policy Institute

8:45am - 9:45am 


Location: Catalina / Madera/ Pasadena

Twenty-Five Years of Tribal Healing to Wellness Courts

  • Joseph Flies-Away, CAB Member, Community and Nation Building Facilitator

Plenary Description: Healing to Wellness Courts have been operating in Tribal Nations for more than 25 years. Healing to Wellness Courts stem from drug courts, which were first funded in 1995 by the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance – Drug Court Program Office. In these 25+ years, Tribal Nations have developed Adult, Juvenile, Family, and Veteran’s Healing to Wellness Courts, many times giving them their own Tribal name. As each Nation is different, each Healing to Wellness Court is unique and culturally accordant with the people and communities who designed it. This session will highlight this development. Conference attendees will hear stories from Wellness Court pioneers and practitioners and collectively envision what the next 25 years will bring.

9:45am - 10:00am 

Break (On your own. No government provided meals or break food or beverages.)

A1 - Adult Healing to Wellness Court

Location: Catalina / Madera/ Pasadena

10:00am - 11:15am

1st Breakout - Sessions A

Putting the Wellness Court into Code (PowerPoint PDF)

  • Lauren van Schilfgaarde, Assistant Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law

Session Description: This session will discuss the recent TLPI publication: Tribal Healing to Wellness Courts: Formalizing Healing to Wellness Courts in Tribal Law (2022), which tracks ways in Tribes have drafted Wellness Courts into Tribal law. Tribal Healing to Wellness Courts are restorative justice components of the Tribal Court. To the extent they operate a docket, adjudicate cases, and, most critically, heal and restore members and the community, some Tribes have noted their existence in the Tribal code. Because each Tribe is structurally and culturally unique, there is no one correct way to promulgate a Wellness Court into Tribal law, or if that exercise is even necessary. This session will identify the considerations for code drafting, identify variations, and push Tribes to contemplate how the Wellness Court operates in relation to other parts of the Tribal judiciary and Tribal law.

A2 - Juvenile/Family Healing to Wellness Courts

Location: Sierra

Justice Systems from a Child’s Perspective: Supporting Native Child Victims and Witnesses (PowerPoint PDF) (Handout)

  • Alisha Morrison, Senior Program Manager, Tribal Justice Exchange, Center for Justice Innovation

Session DescriptionChildren are amongst the most vulnerable members of our society and are widely recognized as requiring care and protection, yet they are often victims of or witnesses to substance misuse, abuse, and other crimes. As a result, children may have to navigate child legal systems that are intimidating, confusing, and overwhelming for adults, let alone for children, whose systems’ involvement may exacerbate their trauma and distress. In addition, Native American child victims and witnesses have unique historical, community, and cultural contexts, and often face the added challenge of navigating complicated jurisdictional issues between Tribal, state, and federal justice systems.

A3 - Establishing Wellness Courts

Location: Mojave

Implementing the Peacemaking Process into Tribal Healing to Wellness Courts (PowerPoint PDF)

  • Grace Carson, Skadden Fellow, Tribal Law and Policy Institute

Session Description: Peacemaking is a traditional way of resolving conflict. It is a community-based process that addresses the concerns of all interested parties by focusing on community care and kinship to both repair and prevent conflict and harm. It is informed by a Tribe’s culture, spirituality, knowledge, and ways of being. This session focuses on the key aspects of peacemaking and how its goals intersect with the goals of Tribal Healing to Wellness Courts. Additionally, this session discusses strategies to implement peacemaking processes into Tribal Healing to Wellness Courts and how doing this can better support the healing and well-being of a court’s participants and a Tribe’s community as a whole.

A4 - Mentor Courts

Location: San Jacinto

Overview of Tribal Law and Policy Institute’s Mentor Court Program (PowerPoint PDF)

  • Alyssa Harrold, Tribal Wellness Court Specialist, Tribal Law and Policy Institute 

  • Kristina Pacheco, Tribal Wellness Specialist, Tribal Law and Policy Institute

Session Description: An overview on healing to wellness programs and why a peer-to-peer learning program specific for Tribal Justice systems is necessary to promote healing and advancement in Healing to Wellness Courts. The session will cover how the program began, the future of the program, and how Tribes can apply and the benefits of working with the mentor courts.

11:15am - 11:30am

Break (On your own. No government provided meals or break food or beverages.)

11:30am - 12:45pm

2nd Breakout - Sessions B

B1 - Adult Healing to Wellness Court

Location: Catalina / Madera/ Pasadena

Incorporating Culture and Teachings into Your Healing to Wellness Program/Reconnecting to Our Roots (PowerPoint PDF)

  • Mandi Moon, Community Resource Navigator, Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe

  • Valarie Jones, Re-entry Case Manager, Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe

Session Description: When someone is lost in addiction, they lose their values, teachings, sense of culture, and trust within their family as well as the community. As a way to reconnect to those things, interviewing an elder or cultural leader can be helpful in many ways. It helps establish or rebuild a relationship, potentially build a support person, help build trust within the community, and helps the participant learn or reconnect with the Tribe, culture, and traditions. During this session you will learn how to set up a similar component that is suitable for your program.

B2 - Juvenile/Family Healing to Wellness Courts

Location: Sierra

Family-Centered Practices for Family Healing to Wellness Courts (PowerPoint PDF)

  • Will Blakeley, Program Associate, Center for Children and Family Future

  • Ashay Shah, Senior Program Associate, Center Children and Family Futures

Session Description: This session discusses key components of a family-centered, behavior-focused, problem-solving approach in Family Healing to Wellness Court (FHWC) precourt staffing and court hearings. When they first emerged, FHWCs focused primarily on a parent’s recovery. Over the past decade, many FHWCs evolved to meet the individual needs of parents and children. Still, services felt disconnected from one another and often overlooked the health of parent-child or family relationships. Today, FHWCs treat the parent, child, and the family unit as a whole—helping families break the cycle of substance use, child abuse, and neglect—while paving the way for healthy, stable home environments where children can thrive. This session makes abstract concepts concrete, illustrating how teams can apply these principles in FHWC practices, including behavior responses, phases, precourt staffing, and hearings.

B3 - Establishing Wellness Courts

Location: Mojave

Strength-Based Language: Understanding the Impact of Word Choice on Treatment Court Outcomes (PowerPoint PDF)

  • Courtney Williams, Senior Program Manager, National Training and Technical Assistance, Center for Justice Innovation

  • Karen Otis, Deputy Director, Treatment Court Programs, National Training and Technical Assistance, Center for Justice Innovation

Session Description: The way treatment court team members speak to and about court participants can impact their success. Research has shown that language has the power to exacerbate or lessen stigma, alter participant perceptions of court and treatment, and impact the quality of treatment provided. Examining how team members speak to and about participants is a best practice that all treatment court teams can implement to improve outcomes in their court. Recovery language evolves and, therefore, should be an ongoing focus of every treatment court team’s process. This presentation discusses the current research on the relationship between language and participant success. Recommendations on how to change the language used by treatment court teams when talking to and about participants will be provided.

B4- Mentor Courts

Location: San Jacinto

Tulalip Healing to Wellness Program: The First Program to be Recognized as Both Tribal Law and Policy Institute Mentor Court and All Rise Mentor Court (PowerPoint PDF)

  • Peter Boome, Associate Judge, Tulalip Tribes

Session Description: TBD

12:45pm - 2:15pm

Break (On your own. No government provided meals or break food or beverages.)

2:15pm - 3:30pm

3rd Breakout - Sessions C

C1 - Adult Healing to Wellness Court

Location: Catalina / Madera/ Pasadena

Piloting the Tribal Court Risk Need Resilience and Responsivity Tool (PowerPoint PDF)

  • Adelle Fontanet-Torres, Director, Tribal Justice Exchange, Center for Justice Innovation

  • Lina Villegas, Research Associate, Center for Justice Innovation

Session Description: The Center for Justice Innovation, in collaboration with staff from the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, has developed a Tribal-specific risk-need responsivity (RNR) tool for use with Tribal Courts. This Tribal RNR tool has been designed with the unique characteristics of Native populations in mind and focuses on highlighting individual resilience, as well as identifying needs and opportunities for engagement with services. The center is now in the process of working with several Tribal Courts to pilot the tool. This presentation will discuss the design of the tool and will walk through the types of information the tool will be collecting. This presentation will also explain how the tool is unique in addressing the needs of Native populations and will highlight how the information gathered can be used to support individuals through case management. 

C2 - Juvenile/Family Healing to Wellness Courts

Location: Sierra

Resiliency in Juvenile Healing to Wellness Program Design (PowerPoint PDF)

  • Selina Kenmille, Juvenile Healing to Wellness Coordinator, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes

  • Nan Benally, Juvenile Healing to Wellness Court Training and Technical Assistance Specialist, Tribal Youth Resource Center, Tribal Law and Policy Institute (Moderator)

Session Description: The session begins with an overview of pitfalls and triumphs during the planning stages and discuss opportunities in creating curriculum fit to organizational goals. Presenters will explore the importance of having a knowledgeable staff and committed advisory committee and will discuss pivotal planning in creating a Juvenile Healing to Wellness program. The presenters will demonstrate how community asset mapping is useful in programming. More importantly, the presenters will acknowledge the importance of culture and utilizing Tribal elders in creating a strong foundation for Juvenile Healing to Wellness Courts.

C3 - Establishing Wellness Courts

Location: Mojave

Veterans’ Outreach and Legal Assistance Roundtable Outcomes (PowerPoint PDF)

  • Andrea Seielstad, National American Indian Court Judges Association, Consultant; Professor of Law and Director of Clinical Programs, University of Dayton, School of Law

  • Elton Naswood, Program Coordinator, National American Indian Court Judges Association 

Session Description: Building upon research and consultation with participants from September 2022, the National American Indian Court Judges Association convened two roundtables for the purposes of assessing working models and determining future opportunities for outreach and legal services delivery to American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) veterans. The ultimate goal is to develop one or more focused pilot projects that would best meet the needs of AI/AN veterans. This session will focus on the methodology of using roundtables to encourage buy-in and gather input from key stakeholders in developing key programmatic goals in the development of AI/AN veterans-focused legal clinics. This session will discuss the outcomes, information, and insights gathered from the roundtables held in Albuquerque, NM, and Anchorage, AK, in the summer of 2023.  

C4- Mentor Courts

Location: San Jacinto

The Decolonization of Language in your Healing to Wellness Program a Guide to Using Language and Culture as the Foundation of Your Program (PowerPoint PDF)

  • Alyssa Harrold, Tribal Wellness Court Specialist, Tribal Law and Policy Institute

  • Matthew Lesky, Attorney, Court Administrator, Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Tribal Court

Session Description: This presentation will focus on how to utilize your cultural values, language, and community mission within your program. Presenters will be focusing on how to write or adapt manuals to remove the federal language and focus more on traditional values within the best practice model. Audience members will hear real examples from this approach in programming and how participants respond to removing federal language from requirements and focusing more on traditional activities and engagement as a measurement for success.   

Break (On your own. No government provided meals or break food or beverages.)

3:30pm - 3:45pm

3:45pm - 5:00pm

4th Breakout - Sessions D

D1 - Juvenile/Family Healing to Wellness Courts

Location: Catalina / Madera/ Pasadena

Impacts and Implication of McGirt Ruling on Oklahoma Juvenile Healing to Wellness Courts (PowerPoint PDF)

  • Patti Buhl, Director, Department of Juvenile Justice, Cherokee Nation

  • Leah Hitcher, Coordinator Juvenile Healing to Wellness, Cherokee Nation

  • Alisha Edelen, Director, Community Services, Choctaw Nation

  • Amber Loftis, Program Manager, Juvenile Services, Choctaw Nation

  • Britney Bush, Program Coordinator, Juvenile Healing to Wellness, Choctaw Nation

  • Pat Sekaquaptewa, Juvenile Healing to Wellness Courts Training and Technical Assistance Manager, Tribal Youth Resource Center, Tribal Law and Policy Institute (Moderator)

Session DescriptionDue to the 2020 Supreme Court ruling McGirt v. Oklahoma, both the Cherokee Nation and the Choctaw Nation were afforded the right to prosecute crimes within their reservation boundaries. The impacts of the ruling provided each Tribe the ability to creatively work with Indigenous youth in a restorative capacity. While the ruling posed many challenges for both Tribes, the Tribes were able to rely on their resilience and develop preventative programs to keep Indigenous youth out of the justice system. With the incorporation of cultural healing and assisting the youth and families in gaining an understanding of the impacts of historical trauma, Tribes in Oklahoma are able to use a restorative approach in the juvenile justice system. 

This session will highlight how the Choctaw Nation and the Cherokee Nation were able to rise to the challenge of having jurisdiction of all Tribal members within their reservation boundaries. In addition, we will discuss how both the Cherokee Nation and Choctaw Nation are taking a multigenerational approach and working with the family systems as a whole. 

D2 - Juvenile/Family Healing to Wellness Courts

Location: Sierra

Indigenous Models of Restorative Practices (PowerPoint PDF)

  • Stephanie Autumn, Director, Tribal Youth Resource Center, Tribal Law and Policy Institute

  • Grace Carson, Skadden Fellow, Tribal Law and Policy Institute

  • Suzanne Garcia, Tribal Legal and Child Welfare Specialist, Tribal Law and Policy Institute (Moderator)

Session DescriptionIndigenous models of restorative practice effect long term systems change by focusing on strengthening relationships. Indigenous models of restorative justice are an approach justice that attempts to restore harm at its roots. This session will examine these two models that are related yet very different. Presenters will explore the philosophy, values, concepts, and framework of each of these Indigenous models, differentiate them from those utilized in western system environments and engage attendees in a discussion about how these models can support successful juvenile healing to wellness courts. Presenters will discuss current Indigenous Restorative Practices applications that build relationships, communities, and the capacity to lift the voice and choice of families and youth who are most impacted by the disparities that exist in Tribal and non-Tribal communities and restorative justice applications that emphasize healing and accountability rather than compliance through a punitive approach.  

D3 - Establishing Wellness Courts

Location: Mojave

A Chronic Disease That Requires Long-Term Recovery Management (The Recovery Management Toolkit) (PowerPoint PDF)

  • Jeffrey N. Kushner, Montana Statewide Drug Court Coordinator, Montana Supreme Court/Office of the Court Administrator

Session DescriptionSession will begin by describing substance use dependency as a chronic disease and the implications for Healing to Wellness Courts. Session will include an understanding of recovery capital and the need for extensive accrual of recovery capital while in Healing to Wellness Court.  How to measure recovery capital from initial entry to the ladder phases of drug court to include a recovery capital scale and recovery capital worksheets.  Worksheets will provide a culturalized version for Native Americans as revised by the Native American/Alaska Native Addiction Technology Transfer Center Network. Finally, the session will provide research indicating that planning for recovery management must go beyond time in Healing to Wellness Court and strategies and instruments to facilitate this extended support.

D4- Mentor Courts

Location: San Jacinto

Bernalillo County Metro Court Urban Native American Healing to Wellness Court: Changing Lives Through Traditional Healing (PowerPoint PDF)

  • Hon. Renee Torres, Judge, Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court

  • Cayla Sanderson, Program Manager, Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court

  • Arianna Chavarria, Probation Officer, Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court

  • Vicki Johnston, Case Manager Supervisor, Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court

  • Jered Lee, Traditional Wellness Program Coordinator, First Nations Community Healthsource

  • Elizabeth Gerlach, Behavioral Health Treatment Provider, First Nations Community Healthsource

Session DescriptionThis session will provide information about how the Urban Native American Healing to Wellness Program meets the needs of a diverse Native Population in an urban setting in Albuquerque, New Mexico. An overview of the program will be provided detailing how the participant enters the program and progresses through graduation. The Healing to Wellness team will share how they utilize their role to help create a community like atmosphere for the participants. The presentation will focus on the team’s success in providing traditional healing methods that have resulted in the program’s success.

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