District Court Rules
In 2001 the Legislature ordained and established the Tribal District
Court. The District Court is comprised of a District Judge and Court
Advocate who are appointed by the Supreme Court. The District Court has
jurisdiction over all civil actions arising under the Constitution, Laws
or Treaties of the Chickasaw Nation which arise in the tribal
jurisdiction, or which may be assigned to it by Legislative or Executive
On December 17, 2003, after artful negotiations, the Memorandum of
Agreement for the Chickasaw Nation to assume primary responsibility for
the operation of the Chickasaw Agency Court of Indian Offenses CFR Court
was agreed to and signed by Bill Anoatubby, Governor of the Chickasaw
Nation, and by the designated representative of the United States of
America, acting through the Bureau of Indian Affairs Eastern Oklahoma
Regional Director for the Secretary of the Interior. Effective January
1, 2004, the Chickasaw Nation Judicial Department by and through the
District Court of the Chickasaw Nation assumed full jurisdiction of the
CFR caseload and all cases to be filed in the future.
All decisions made by the District Court will be recognized by the
State and CFR Courts. The Supreme Court has full authority on any appeal
from the District Court to affirm, reverse, modify or vacate any action
in the District Court or other entity from whom an appeal is taken as
authorized by law.
The District Court will focus on family issues such as divorce, child
custody, child support, parental rights, visitation and adoption, civil
matters, juvenile matters, and guardianship. The Court will also preside
over criminal misdemeanors for crimes committed by Indians on tribal
This Court will be designed to assist Chickasaw people, but it will
accept others into the Court upon execution of certain waivers. The
Court will incorporate traditional values into the system to provide a
more personal touch to its solutions on matters brought before it.
The Tribal District Court opened its doors in Ada, OK on January 2, 2004. The first docket was heard on January 8, 2004.
The District Court consists of the presiding Judge and Special Judges
as may be appointed according to law. The District Judge is appointed by
the Supreme Court and serves a three (3) year term of office beginning
the date of their confirmation and until his/her successor takes office,
unless removed for cause, by death or resignation.