Traditional Court

Spirit Lake Tribal Court

Wodakota: Traditional Court

P.O Box 30, 709 3rd Ave

Fort Totten, ND 58335


Traditional Court Coordinator - Karen Jackson

Phone: 701.766.4244

Fax: 701.766.4776


Traditional Court Brochure

The Wodakota: Traditional court will use “Peacemaking Circle” techniques from our past to help the community and those affected by our current judicial system. By using a Circle approach we will respectfully engage in open communication among participants. A talking piece is passed clockwise to create open commu­nication amongst the circle. A Peacemaker will lead the circle discussion allowing everyone to have an equal say. The Peacemaker will create a respectful space for everyone to be heard and help the “Peacemaking Circle” come to an agreement on the issue at hand.

This process will be used as an alternative to the current court procedures. We will use wisdom from our elders, spiitual leaders and commu­nity members in the “Peacemaking Circles” process to help resolve conflicts through media­tion and serve as an alternative sentencing route for offenders.

Wodakota: for Youth

Will be a court diversionary program in order to provide intervention and prevention services to court involved youth & their families. It will collaborate with service providers, law enforce­ment, school districts and Spirit Lake Tribal Court in order to meet this goal.

Will approach Peacemaking through “ Peacemaking Circle Sentencing” by Peace­makers through a creation of a “Peacemaking Compact”, that will allow for offenders to make things right through a variety of possi­ble ways. Compact will include but not lim­ited to community service, participation in faith based activities and/or cultural func­tions, cultural education, learning a cultural craft, restitution to victim, substance abuse evaluation and treatment, and traditional healing methods.

“Mentoring” by Peacemakers to establish trust, leadership and guidance also may en­gage in activities that they agree upon.

“Mediation/Conflict Resolution” where Peace­makers will serve as a conduit for communica­tion between disputing parties. In an attempt to reach a consensus within the circle. Allow­ing the all parties to have an equal say and of equal importance. Peacemakers will find ways to help parties communicate with each other in a good way. In order to restore bal­ance back to the community.

Wanting to Participate?

Applications and referrals to the Wodakota Traditional Court will be handled and deter­mined on a case by case basis.

Spirit Lake Nation Members of the community wanting to participate will fill out an application, gather a support system to participate in the cir­cle and attend a meeting prior to circle. Agree­ments and alternative sentencing will be made within the Peacemaking circle. Follow up will be required in most cases.

Youth Offenders 10-17 years of age wanting to participate in “Peacemaking Circle” prior to their court sentencing. Will fill out an application, gather a support system to participate in the cir­cle and attend a pre-sentencing meeting to discuss case. If accepted Youth will agree to a Peace­making Compact created by the Peacemaking Circle. Youth will attend follow-up meetings to give updates on progress in order to become ac­countable for their actions