Native American Unit
Authored By: Northwest Justice Project
Information about NJP's Native American Unit and the services it provides.
What is Northwest Justice Project?
The Northwest Justice Project (NJP) is a non-profit law firm providing civil (non-criminal) legal services to low income persons throughout the state. NJP has 18 field offices across the state from which to serve client communities.
What does NJP do for Native Americans?
NJP has several resources to help low-income Native American clients, including the following services:
The Native American Unit (NAU)
The NAU offers legal assistance in tribal, federal, and state courts. Case acceptance is dependent upon office priorities, staff availability, and the merits of each case. The NAU emphasizes cases involving state agencies’ policies and practices that have had disproportionate, adverse impacts on Native communities.
The NAU provides advice and representation to Native Americans in the following areas of law:
- Education & Youth Law: cases involving suspensions, expulsions, truancy, accommodations, or special education in public schools.
- Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA): cases involving an Indian child removed from a parent or guardian. These include, but are not limited to, non-parental custody cases, dependencies, and adoptions in state courts.
- Indian Trust Land and Resources: when individuals have problems or questions involving their trust property, including home ownership, land use, leases, or purchase and gift deed transactions.
- Estate Planning and Probate: probate cases before the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
- Housing: cases to preserve homeownership on Indian trust land, such as termination of purchase agreements or right to possession of a home.
- Other issues: advice and representation in other cases arising directly from a person’s legal status as an American Indian or Alaska Native, including matters before tribal courts, or about protection of the jurisdiction of tribal justice systems.
The Native American Unit - Crime Victims Program (NAU-CV)
NJP has dedicated services for Native American crime victims. Camille McDorman is available to provide advice, brief services, and referrals in civil (non-criminal) legal matters stemming from the client’s experience as a crime victim. The crime does not need to be reported or prosecuted. Matters include:
- Family law matters involving domestic violence or sexual assault;
- Health matters including denial of services to deal with victimization;
- Housing problems due to a crime in the house;
- Financial security issues caused by an assault, abuse, or fraud;
- Access to crime victims compensation; and
- Other legal problems resulting from being the victim of a crime.
Ask a tribal service provider or staff member of a Native American serving organization for a referral to NAU-CV or call Camille at 206-707-7210.
How do I get help from the Native American Unit?
If you are located outside of King County, call the CLEAR hotline toll-free at 1-888-201-1014. The CLEAR line is open weekdays from 9:15 a.m – 12:15 p.m.
If you are located in King County, call 2-1-1. After you contact 2-1-1 or CLEAR for an NAU intake, you may receive further assistance from the Native American Unit, or you may be referred to an NJP field office, a local volunteer lawyer program, or another legal services organization.
When you speak to a NAU advocate, she will help you define the legal problem, determine possible courses of action, and identify whether additional legal resources are available.
*Native victims of crime seeking assistance from our Native American Crime Victims Program should ask a tribal service provider or staff member of an organization that serves Native Americans for a referral.