Tribal Protection Order

For Survivors

Full Faith and Credit Protection Orders and Safety for Native Families, 2018

A basic guide to protection orders that describes the civil legal process, enforcement, foreign protection orders, and VAWA 2013 in an easy to read guidebook.

For Advocates

From the Roots Up An Overview of Shelter and Advocacy Program Development Supporting Native Women’s Sovereignty

Section I. The Roots: Program Belief System. This section describes the theoretical foundation of the approach and method to the work to end violence against women. Knowing the history of what, how and why our People have come to a place where women are no longer seen and treated as sacred, will provide the information we need to formulate a response to violence against women. The roots are the foundation for the red road. Section II. The Contributors. The trunk connects the roots to the branches and describes the elements that contribute to the growth of the shelter/program. Again, the concepts and values of the red road provide the strength that will allow us to flourish and make the safe space that women need. Section III. The Branches: Response. The branches offer a demonstration and description of the activities and/or the outgrowth of the shelter/program roots.

For Law Enforcement

Law Enforcement Authority in Indian Country by Professor Melissa L. Tatum (2003)
The full faith and credit provisions of the VAWA have great potential to close some of the gaps in cross-jurisdictional enforcement of protection orders. Unfortunately, when it enacted the VAWA, Congress did not focus on the difference between tribal and state jurisdictions, while at the same time leaving the details of enforcement up to each tribe and each state. As a result, tribal governments, and particularly tribal law enforcement officials, must make many decisions about how to establish procedures that can be applied both to protection orders issued by the tribe and protection orders issued by other jurisdictions.

Extending Project Passport: National Center for State Courts An Overview of passport concept and related topics, such as full faith and credit, federal firearms laws, tribal-state collaboration, and protection order data sharing.

For Judges


Tribal Domestic Violence Bench Guide

This bench guide will inform judicial officers about barriers; dispel myths about native victims, tribes, and the law; present a primer on federal Indian law; and highlight some of the interjurisdictional challenges state and tribal court judges face when recognizing and enforcing each other’s protective orders.  By understanding barriers facing native victims, delving into the complexities of federal Indian law, and uncovering the interjurisdictional challenges, courts will be better equipped to make rulings, avoid conflicting rulings, and engage native and non-native  service providers and justice system professionals to better serve native victims.

A Passport for Safety: A Judges Bench Card (NCJFCJ)
An overview of protection orders for judges and judicial officials.

Civil Protection Orders: A Guide for Improving Practice (NCJFCJ, 2010)
This publication is known as the CPO Guide.
The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, in partnership with the Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women developed the CPO Guide as a tool designed to support the work of professionals dedicated to enhancing the effectiveness of the civil protection order process. It provides guidance for advocates, attorneys, judges, law enforcement personnel, and prosecutors to help ensure that protection orders are effectively issued, served, and enforced across the country.

The Tribal Law and Policy Institute, the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, and the National Congress of American Indians hosted a three-part webinar series on tribal protection orders. These can be found on the Tribal Protection Order website at http://tribalprotectionorder.org/online-resources/.

A Primer on Tribal Court Contempt Power by Matthew Fletcher (2008)
Supreme Court doctrine bars tribal courts from exercising criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians, but tribal courts often are the only practical mechanism available to protect Indian women from non-Indian domestic violence. Congress recognized this fact in the
Violence Against Women Act by noting that tribal courts may use their civil contempt power to enforce personal protection orders originating in foreign jurisdictions. This short paper describes the civil contempt power of tribal courts, and how tribal courts have used this power. The paper concludes with a short analysis of the implications of federal Indian law on tribal court authority to issue civil contempt citations to non-Indians.

Full Faith and Credit, Comity or Federal Mandate? A Path that Leads to Recognition and Enforcement of Tribal Court Orders, Tribal Protection Orders, and Tribal Child Custody Orders by Kelly Stoner and Richard A. Orona (2004)
This article discusses three possible avenues focused on obtaining enforcement of tribal court judgments -- the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the U.S. Constitution, the doctrine of comity, and the enactment of federal statutes that mandate full faith and credit for certain judgments such as the Violence against Women Act (VAWA) and the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).

For Attorneys and Prosecutors

For Tribal Leaders


Please note the following resources may not contain all of the most recent US Supreme Court Jurisprudence and do not contemplate VAWA 2013 amendments. Please review updates to laws and statutes.

Enforcement of Domestic Violence Protection Orders by Mary E. Guss and Melissa L. Tatum, The University of Arizona Native Net Professional Development Series (2010)
This guidebook is designed to provide context and highlight matters for tribal code-designers to consider when contemplating issues surrounding the enforcement of protection orders issued in their courts or the courts of states or other tribes.

Establishing Penalties for Violations of Protection Orders: What Tribal Governments Need to Know by Melissa L. Tatum (2003)
This essay explores the import of the VAWA’s full faith and credit provisions and how tribal governments can take full advantage of those provisions to maximize the protection afforded to those shielded by protection orders.

A Jurisdictional Quandary: Challenges Facing Tribal Governments in Implementing the Full Faith and Credit Provisions of the Violence Against Women Act by Melissa L. Tatum (2001)
This article explores the jurisdictional rules that apply to states and to tribes, and examines the impact of those different rules on VAWA’s full faith and credit provisions. The article also includes a model tribal code for enforcement of foreign protection orders.

Expanding the Network of Safety: Tribal Protection Orders for Survivors of Sexual Assault by Sarah Deer (2003)
This article develops an independent analysis of the need for sexual assault protection orders at the tribal level, in light of the reality of sexual violence against Native women and the unique limitations on tribal

criminal jurisdiction.


This project is supported by Grant No. 2017-TA-AX-K073, awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this document are those of the author and  do not necessarily reflect the view of  the U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.

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