Friday, March 31, 2023


Donald Trump indicted by Manhattan grand jury; Georgia campaign fights to reopen local hospitals; New Mexico creates first-ever $100M conservation fund.


Former President Donald Trump is indicted by Manhattan's district attorney, House Republicans take aim at renewables in new energy bill and House Dems introduce the Women's Protection Health Act.


Small towns respond to a hidden housing and homelessness crisis, a new national weather prediction system will help close the gap between urban and rural forecasting, and more rural communities are eligible for a design project to boost economic development.

Project to Train People to Represent Montanans in Tribal Courts


Wednesday, February 9, 2022   

A program is looking for Montanans to represent people in courts on tribal reservations, who often lack access to legal assistance when they need it.

The Tribal Advocate Incubator Project wants to train lay advocates - that is, people who are not lawyers by profession - to represent folks in tribal courts across the state.

"Tribal lay advocates will represent tribal members in tribal court regarding civil legal matters," said Valerie Falls Down, tribal advocacy coordinator for the Montana Legal Services Association, "including divorce and custody, landlord-tenant disputes, wills and probate, real estate and land issues."

Montana's seven reservations are mostly rural, and a 2017 study found the poverty rate was 30% on the state's reservations. The Montana Legal Services Association is teaming up with the University of Montana law school and the Indian Law Section of the State Bar on this training program.

The Montana Legal Services Association provides free legal advice and services to low-income Montanans. Falls Down said cost often is a major barrier to representation in court.

"Someone who is low income would not otherwise be able to afford paying a lawyer, which is high priced," she said.

Because each tribal court system is different, she said lay advocates would have to be licensed in that system in order to represent clients.

"What we want to do with this program is, we want to train local people in each tribe," she said, "so that they can represent [clients] in their own community."

Falls Down said her organization is identifying candidates, and the program's first training will start in May.

Disclosure: Montana Legal Services Association contributes to our fund for reporting on Civil Rights, Human Rights/Racial Justice, Poverty Issues, Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

get more stories like this via email
Parents, students and teachers are raising concerns over proposed education policies in the Sunshine State. (Pixabay)

Social Issues

Algunos estudiantes, padres y educadores planean reunirse para enviar un mensaje al gobernador Ron DeSantis en el Día de los Inocentes. El …

Health and Wellness

Small-business owners in North Carolina are reaching out to legislators for help, citing hospital mergers as one reason their health-care costs are …



Initial money through the American Rescue Plan Act provided education funding to 140 school districts in Tennessee to support post-pandemic academic recovery, student mental health and schools' ability to reopen safely. (f11photo/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Tennesseans aren't the only ones mourning the tragic loss of three children and three adults at this week's shooting at Nashville's Covenant School…

Health and Wellness

Doctors in Iowa are studying the brains of babies to learn more about sleep patterns in adults and teens. The United Health Foundation reports one-…

While more than 3,500 people have been awarded the Medal of Honor since it was created by President Abraham Lincoln, only 65 of them are alive today. (The White House)

Social Issues

While National Medal of Honor Month is ending, plans to develop a museum and monument for the award are continuing. Numerous Medal of Honor …

Social Issues

Construction of the Medal of Honor Museum and Foundation is under way in Arlington, Texas - a place to pay tribute to those who've earned the …

Social Issues

Labor leaders in various industries recently celebrated the 85th anniversary of a federal law that laid the groundwork for registered apprenticeship p…


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021