Tribal Policing: Asserting Sovereignty, Seeking Justice

Feb 15th, 2011 | By | Category: 22-3: Food Sovereignty, Spring 2011, Media Reviews

By Eileen Luna-Firebaugh
University of Arizona Press (2007)

Review by Michael W. Simpson

Professor Eileen Luna-Firebaugh’s experience with tribal courts and policing are revealed in this book, along with her academic work. Law students and lawyers wanting to know more about tribal jurisdiction and how to advise tribal authorities will find it useful. It should be included in police training courses and in legal studies programs, including tribal advocate certificate training.

Teachers of high school and college social study-type subjects would find the book useful for explaining federal Indian law and tribal sovereignty. Both theoretical and practical, it is written in an accessible fashion.

In 12 chapters and 130 pages, the author provides information on the historical context of tribal policing and courts (or more appropriately traditional dispute mechanisms without courts), federal case law and acts that cause problems for Indian Country, policing models, training, infrastructure challenges, women in policing, jails, and community involvement and control. The author nicely compares and contrasts tribal policing with mainstream policing.

This book is highly recommended and seems essential for a tribal college to have for their local police and community leaders.

Michael W. Simpson, J.D., M.Ed. is completing a Ph.D. in American Indian Studies at the University of Arizona. He offers nationwide workshops on linguistic- based discourse analysis of school textbooks. He may be reached at

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