Tribal Justice is a feature documentary about a little known, underreported but effective criminal justice reform movement in America today: the efforts of tribal courts to create alternative justice systems based on their traditions. In California, the state with the largest number of Indian people and tribes, two formidable Native American women are among those leading the way. Abby Abinanti, Chief Judge of the Yurok Tribe on the northwest coast, and Claudette White, Chief Judge of the Quechan Tribe in the southeastern desert, are creating innovative systems that focus on restoring rather than punishing offenders in order to keep tribal members out of prison, prevent children from being taken from their communities, and stop the school-to-prison pipeline that plagues their young people.
Anne Makepeace has been a writer, producer, and director of award-winning independent films for more three decades. Her new film, Tribal Justice, premiered at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival in February 2017 and screened at many festivals across the country, winning Best Documentary prizes at the American Indian Film Festival and the Charlotte Film Festival, the Rigoberta-Menchú Grand Prix at the Montréal First People’s Film Festival, the Directing Award at Cinetopia.