2nd Covenant Completed for North Dakota Tribal Youth Services | Local News for Bismarck-Mandan, North Dakota

A second tribal nation sharing geography with North Dakota has entered into a pact for state court services for juveniles tried in tribal court.

The Turtle Mountain Tribal Council approved the agreement, and Tribal Chairman Jamie Azure signed it last week, Shaun Peterson, director of the Northeast North Dakota Juvenile Court. Told Wednesday the Provisional Judiciary Committee of the Legislative Assembly.

Peterson said the remaining signatures from state agency heads are being collected. The next steps are to develop a team of agency representatives, finalize a meeting structure and objectives, and begin processing cases.

The 2019 legislature passed the Act Authorizing Cooperative Agreements to Provide Services to Juveniles Tried in Tribal Courts. The 2021 legislature renewed the law.

The Spirit Lake Tribe in 2020 was the first tribal nation to sign such an agreement. It served 11 boys and 10 girls aged 12 to 17. State services to youth in Spirit Lake included risk and needs assessments to facilitate tribal probation case planning and access to treatment.

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“Agencies involved currently feel there has been an improvement in working relationships and communication between the state and tribal partners, so that’s a huge plus,” Peterson said. No separate funding has been requested or provided for the deals, he said.

Spirit Lake Tribal Court Chief Judge Joe Vetsch said the pact has resulted in better relations between state, county and tribal agencies and better outcomes for youth.

“In short, I believe this agreement has proven invaluable to all parties in various ways, and I and the Spirit Lake Tribe continue to express our strong support for this agreement and the legislation that authorizes it,” he said. Vetsch told lawmakers.

Contact Jack Dura at 701-250-8225 or [email protected]

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