See: Departments: Tribal Court

Sac and Fox Nation Court

356159 East 926 Road
Stroud, OK 74079

PHONE:  918-968-2031

FAX: 918-968-3781

Generally, the jurisdiction of the court extends to activities which occur on Indian Country within the boundaries of the Sac and Fox reservation as established by the Treaty of 1891. Indian Country is defined by federal statute as including reservation lands, individual and tribal trust lands and dependent Indian communities.

The jurisdiction of the court is extended to include all Sac and Fox children in certain types of juvenile cases by the federal and state Indian Child Welfare Acts. The jurisdiction is determined by where the activity occurs, what the activity is and who did the activity. In some instances, the jurisdiction extends to non Indians and, as provided by the Indian Child Welfare Acts, for example, beyond the reservation boundaries.

The Sac and Fox Tribal Court procedure is set by the Sac and Fox Code of Laws which provides for two courts, the lower or District Court and the upper or Supreme Court.

The Code of Laws provides that the officers of the court will include trained Court Clerks, who process, file and record cases and transcripts, and Bailiffs, who maintain order in the courtroom.

The Attorney General, named by the Business Committee, serves as prosecutor for the court and is supported by Assistant Attorneys General, also appointed by the Business Committee, as needed.

There is a definite traditional Indian orientation to the Sac and Fox Court System and the laws it upholds.

The Sac and Fox Code calls for banishment as punishment for certain offenses and both trained attorneys and laymen serve as judges at all levels to form a traditional and statutory judicial balance.

"In matters not covered by tribal statute, the court shall apply traditional tribal customs and usages, which are called common law. When doubt as to Tribal Common Law, the court may request the advise of counselors and tribal elders familiar with them. In any dispute not covered by the tribal constitution, tribal statute or tribal common law, the court may apply any laws of the United States or any State which would be cognizable in the courts of general jurisdiction therein, and any regulation of the Department of the Interior which may be general or specific applicability."

Title 9, Section 8, Sac and Fox Code, c. 1885

One hundred years after its citizens adopted their first written constitution and laws in Indian Territory, the Sac and Fox Nation re established a complete court system. The Sac and Fox Business Committee signed the legislation on July 5, 1985 and on the same day adopted a Code of Laws.

Work to re establish the court system after 100 year hiatus, grew out of a constitutional revision committee that began meeting in 1972. From that early work came the Sac and Fox Law and Order Committee, who in the early 1980's, expanded its role to include recommending legislation for adoption into tribal law as wen as the writing a new constitution. Hundreds of hours of work by these committees, all tribal members, resulted in the development of the courts and the Code of Laws under which it operates.

The first session of the new Sac and Fox Court held on tribal land was August 22, 1985 when 13 cases were heard by the Honorable Thomas Morris, Jr., Magistrate. The Sac and Fox Court system was the first fully implemented tribal court in operation in the state of Oklahoma.