NIWRC’s Speakers Bureau: Michelle Demmert

Michelle Demmert, Tlingit, Eagle, Ḵaax̱ʼoos.hittaan clan is a current elected delegate for the Central Council Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, and their elected Chief Justice for their Supreme Court. She is currently the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) Violence Against Women Task Force co-chair.  She has worked in various capacities of advancing domestic violence protections for women and children. She holds the position of Law & Policy Consultant for the Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center and works to improve local, state and federal laws and policies. She is also the Chief Judge at the Chehalis Tribe and was their Presiding Judge previously for over 10 years, where she assisted with amending their DV code that provided greater protections for women and children, as well as developing a court process that holistically addressed all participants. Judge Demmert has assisted on numerous bench books and pilot projects addressing improvements to domestic violence laws and implementation. Two examples include work with the Northwest Tribal Court Judges’ Association’s bench book on processing domestic violence cases, establishing a full faith and credit process with the state for registering tribal Orders of Protection and a Department of Justice funded Tribal Prosecutor’s Pilot Project and Manual for best practices in this area.

Judge Demmert worked in the Reservation Attorney’s office for the Tulalip Tribes for nearly 10 years.  While there, 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).  As their primary point of contact for this process from the beginning, she represented the Tulalip Tribes on the Intertribal Work Group for SDVCJ during the pilot project phase and has presented about this process at many tribal, state, federal and university forums, including a presentation to the Department of Justice staff during Domestic Violence Awareness month in October 2015.  In addition, she assisted the Tulalip Tribes in successfully becoming one of the first 10 tribes to begin the Tribal Access Program (TAP), which provided direct access to criminal databases such as NCIC for comprehensive use as a governmental agency to benefit the safety of the community.  She has provided testimony during the Office of Violence against Women’s (OVW) annual consultation on behalf of the Tulalip Tribes, as well as the Tlingit & Haida’s Chief Justice to bring awareness to Alaska specific issues.

Judge Demmert has significant tribal court experience having worked at various positions at the Northwest Intertribal Court System, including Chief Judge and Administrator.  She is currently assisting tribes in SE Alaska with establishing or building their court systems.

Judge Demmert is a graduate of the University of Washington for both her law degree and her BA in Psychology.  Michelle actively engaged in the Alaska commercial fishing industry prior to her practice of law.

VIEW: NIWRC Speakers Bureau profile on Michelle Demmert

DOWNLOAD & SHARE: 2018 VAWA Reauthorization Card featuring Michelle Demmert