The legal institutions in Indian country revolve around four main entities: indigenous or traditional courts, general jurisdiction courts, appellate courts, and the Bureau of Indian Affair’s Code of Federal Regulation courts. The National Survey of Tribal Court Systems (NSTCS) is the first complete enumeration of tribal court systems operating in the United States and gathers administrative and operational information from tribal court systems, prosecutors’ offices, and indigent defense providers operating in the United States. The NSTCS helps fulfill BJS’s legislative mandate under the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010 (TLOA; P.L. 111-211, 124 Stat. 2258 § 251(b)) to establish and implement a tribal crime data collection system.
The National Survey of Tribal Court Systems (NSTCS) consists of three surveys specific to tribal court systems in the lower 48 states, Alaska Native villages, and the Code of Federal Regulations Courts (CFR Courts) operated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). Data for the 2014 NSTCS were collected through mail, email, and telephone nonresponse follow-up. See the methodology section in reports for weighting information, which varies by collection year.