Welcome Michelle Demmert! New NCAI Task Force Co-Chair, 2018
“As we give our deep appreciation to the former Co-Chair of the NCAI Task Force on Violence Against Women, Terri Henry (Eastern Band Cherokee Indians), we welcome Michelle Demmert as the new Co- Chair,” said Juana Majel. “I look forward to working with Michelle to continue to advance the safety of Native women and sovereignty of Indian nations.”
Michelle has a long history of working to end violence against women through advancing legal protections and public policies supporting safety for women and children since 1995. Michelle Demmert (Tlingit, Eagle, Ḵaax̱ʼoos. hittaan clan) is a current delegate and elected Chief Justice for the Central Council Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska. Currently, Michelle serves as the Law and Policy Consultant to the Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center under the Family Violence Prevention Services Act (FVPSA) grant.
Domestic Violence Judicial Expertise
As the presiding judge at the Chehalis tribe for over 10 years, Michelle assisted with amending code provisions that provided greater protections for women and children, as well as developing a court process that holistically addressed all participants. During this time, she also assisted the Northwest Tribal Court Judges’ Association with the creation of a bench book on processing domestic violence cases, establishing a full faith and credit process with 12the state for registering tribal Orders of Protection and participated as a significant contributor to a Tribal Prosecutor’s Pilot Project and Manual for best practices in this area. As a judge, Ms. Demmert issued Orders of Protection as necessary for all member tribes of the Northwest Intertribal Court System, as well as presided over numerous criminal domestic violence cases, both bench and jury. She is their current Chief Judge.
Special Domestic Violence Court Jurisdiction
Ms. Demmert joined the Northwest Justice Project’s Domestic Violence unit for a brief time before being recruited to the Tulalip Tribes’ Office of Reservation Attorney, where she continues to work on special projects. While at the Tulalip Tribes, she was the primary author of their complete revision of the Domestic Violence code, which includes provisions for exercising Special Domestic Violence Court Jurisdiction (SDVCJ). She was there primary point of contact for this process from the beginning. She now represents the Chehalis Tribe, as their Chief Judge, on the Intertribal Work Group for SDVCJ and has presented about this process at many tribal, state, federal and university forums. In addition, she represented the Tulalip Tribes as their Point of Contact for the Tribal Access Program during the User Feedback Pilot Phase and assisted with the development of laws and policies to assist implementation.
“Foundational to the safety of Native women is respect for tribal sovereignty at every level of government.”
—Michelle Demmert, footsteps of the United States Supreme Court, Quilt Walk for Justice, December 7, 2015
Annual Government-to-Government Consultation Mandated Under VAWA 2005
Michelle has provided testimony during the Office of Violence against Women’s (OVW) annual consultation on behalf of the Tulalip Tribes, as well as Chief Justice for the Central Council Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska to bring awareness to Alaska specific issues. (http://ovwconsultation.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/OVW-Ann…)
Michelle is a graduate of the University of Washington for both her law degree and her BA in Psychology. Michelle is actively engaged in the Alaska commercial fishing industry prior to her practice of law.