TCC and UAF host 39th Alaska Tribal Court Conference

Participants from all over the State of Alaska convene at Westmark.
Participants from all over the State of Alaska convene at Westmark.(KTVF)
Published: Aug. 1, 2023 at 4:05 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Tanana Chiefs Conference and the University of Alaska Fairbanks tribal governance program are hosting the 39th Annual Alaska Tribal Court Conference on Tuesday, Aug. 1 at the Westmark Hotel Gold Room in Fairbanks.

Tribal employees are gathering in Fairbanks, Alaska this week to discuss how to balance today for safer communities tomorrow and they’re focusing on tribal court in rural areas.

Seeing a judge in an urban setting is different when a court case takes place in rural Alaska.

Brittany Madros the tribal government & justice division director at Tanana Chiefs Conference explains the importance of the gathering as tribal courts operate differently.

“Rural Alaska as a whole, our infrastructure is minimal. We don’t have state courts, we don’t have state law enforcement but we have a lot of public safety issues out in our communities and the best people to do that work is our tribal courts,” says, Madros.

As this conference reinforces tribal governance, Madros explains, “Our tribal courts have been in existence since time immemorial, not in the western idea that we often think of when we think of a court room. There has always been challenges or questions of our tribes authority and it’s important to gather and talk what we’re able to do our tribes authority as well as how can we help protect our tribal members.”

The four day gathering will focus on heavy topics like tribal foster care and public safety issues.

“Tribal courts are important to rural Alaska because there is a minimum presence from our state out there and so the funding and the different resources to respond to different public safety issues really relies on the local community and our tribal courts give that a fair process for everyone involved,” says, Madros.

The conference will conclude on Friday, August 4th and is open to the public.

More information can be found on the Tanana Chiefs Conference website.