Yurok Tribal Court, Root and Rebound Raising Funds to Assist Low-Income Tribal members

This a press release from the Yurok Tribe:

Yurok Chief Judge Abby Abinanti

The Yurok Tribal Court and Root and Rebound recently kicked off a Crowdrise fundraiser to help low-income Yurok Tribal members obtain essential legal services.

All contributions will go directly to the Yurok Court’s Legal Access Center, a one stop shop that provides Tribal members with support and paperwork for civil court proceedings related to family law matters, mediation of disputes and criminal records clearing. The legal center also aids in the facilitation of communication between Tribal members and other state or tribal agencies and programs.

Developed by Yurok Chief Judge Abby Abinanti, a Yurok Tribal member and longtime San Francisco Superior Court Commissioner, the Yurok Tribal Court incorporates the Tribe’s traditional principles into a legal system that seeks restore balance and harmony in the lives of the people it serves. The Court is an agent of positive change for individuals, families and the community as a whole.

Having helped more than 100 individuals, the court’s criminal record clearing program is one of its most popular offerings. The primary objective of this culturally consistent initiative is to empower Yurok Tribal members as they confront the myriad barriers and restrictions, such as those blocking access to the workforce, housing, and education that many individuals face post-release and post-conviction.

“This program assists Tribal members, who are already trying to help themselves, but are unable to because of the old offenses on their records,” said Yurok Chief Justice Abinanti. “Your contribution will directly benefit these deserving individuals, who are working so hard to support themselves and their loved ones.”

The Crowdrise campaign began after the airing of Tribal Justice, a new documentary about two tribal judges who are creating justice systems steeped in their traditions, modeling restorative justice in action and featuring Chief Justice Abinanti. The inspirational documentary, created by award-winning producer Anne Makepeace, recently premiered on PBS. In part, the film follows a two Yurok parents as they courageously confront their own chronic substance abuse issues. With assistance from the Yurok Tribal Court, the couple overcame a tremendous amount of adversity to provide a bright future for their young child. The documentary powerfully illustrates how a courtroom, based on tribal values of community, healing and resolution, can be a vehicle for positive change.  For more information about the film, visit: http://www.pbs.org/pov/tribaljustice/

This year, the Legal Access Center has partnered with Root & ReboundOne Justice and Legal Services of Northern California to offer 9 criminal record cleaning workshops and a Fair Chance Workshop for local employers. Additional record clearing workshops are scheduled for September 27, 29 and 30 in Weitchpec, Klamath and Eureka.

Here is a link to the Crowdrise fundraising page: https://www.crowdrise.com/o/en/team/tribal-justice-film-and-fundraiser Click here to see the trailer: http://bit.ly/2ynF8ZN


All proceeds from this fundraiser will go directly towards ensuring equal access to justice for low-income Tribal community members who need legal support, information, and representation.

What Your Donation Will Do: 

$50 will cover the cost of obtaining one tribal member’s rap sheet

$150 will cover the administrative cost of one dismissed conviction

$500 will provide record-clearing assistance to 5 community members

$1,500 will cover the cost of one Fair Chance Hiring training to educate and encourage local employers on the benefits and legal issues around hiring someone with a criminal record.

Root and Rebound’s mission is to increase access to justice and opportunity for people in reentry from prison and jail, and to educate and empower those who support them, fundamentally advancing and strengthening the reentry infrastructure across the state of California. 



  • Somehow the idea of providing funds for legal matters, without know who or what will be supported, as crowd funding seems very dangerous. “Increasing access to justice” is not a blanket good if what is meant is to give money to use the justice system and, by that, gives funds to a person who is still hostile to society so they can manipulate the system. That can at least end up dividing people based on who was hurt by the individual versus who doesn’t care if the individual hurt someone.

    To give money to an individual is one thing. To give to a program is questionable. You might find that the progam, which doesn’t consult the giver’s opinion, spends in opposition to what you feel is right. Much more information is required.

    • I can say that this program has saved myself lots of money; living in povery is no fun. With a cleaner record; now I can find a job that I can make a decent living wage. Not happy times when society keeps punishing you after I paid my dues; fines, jail time, school and everything in my power to get ahead. I felt punished still 10 years later, as do most offenders. This program is great and I am going to volunteer helping others that have been in similar situations. They set up the paperwork for me; spent time with real lawyers. I now can finish my scholastic endeavor and help others reach their goals. I would think you could volunteer too, since the program is “questionable.” This will help any of your confusion as to what is being accomplished here. Cheers!

  • Is their that much crime within the tribe, that they have to do this? And I thought they get casino money?? If they had jobs they wouldn’t be in such trouble.

    • They get Casino money like the state gets Lottery money, or the Mateel gets reggae money. Somebody’s getting the money but it sure isnt the people.

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