Tribal Court

Tribal Court History (.pdf)

Court Administrator

Amanda Sprague is the Court Administrator for the Gun Lake Tribal Court. Amanda is a Gun Lake Tribal Citizen and has served as the Court Administrator since August of 2009. Prior to working for the Gun Lake Tribe, Amanda worked at Honigman, Miller, Schwartz & Cohn while attending law school.

Amanda earned her Bachelors degree in Political Science from The Ohio State University in 2005 and her Juris Doctorate from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in 2008. Amanda was licensed by the State Bar of Michigan in 2009.

Her office hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Phone: (616) 681-0697 ext. 358
Fax: (616) 681-0698
Address: PO Box 218
Dorr, MI 49323

Chief Judge

Michael Petoskey became the first Chief Judge of the Gun Lake Tribal Court in January of 2010. He is a Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians tribal member and an elder. Judge Petoskey is a Vietnam veteran having served as an infantry medic. He has been a judge for various Michigan Indian tribes since 1986. Judge Petoskey has served on the bench in each of the seven (7) federally-recognized tribal communities in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, each by separate appointment of the separate sovereigns. He began his judicial career with the planning, implementation and development of the courts for his own Tribe from just a dream while he was a staff attorney for Michigan Indian Legal Services. He was the Chief Judge there for over sixteen (16) years until his retirement from the position. During the course of his career, Judge Petoskey has helped four (4) other Michigan Indian tribes realize their dream also, by helping to plan, then implementing and developing their courts, serving as the founding Chief Judge. He continues to serve the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians in that capacity. Additionally, he has served as an appellate court justice for the remaining two Lower Peninsula of Michigan Indian tribes, the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians and the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan.

In 1992, the Michigan Bar Journal recognized Judge Petoskey as a ”Citizen Lawyer” for his contributions in law to Michigan tribal communities.

Tribal Court Documents and Forms

Petition/Affidavit of Petitioner for Garnishment

Certification of Records of Michigan Court

Petition for Order of Garnishment

Final Statement on Order of Garnishment

Schedule of Court Fees

Application and Affidavit for Admission to Practice

Affidavit and Oath of Admission

Affidavit of Indigency and Request for Waiver of Filing Fee

Affidavit of Primary Support by Public Assistance and Request for Waiver of Filing Fee


Administrative Orders

Administrative Order - Proportioning Per Capita Payments

Administrative Order - Procedures for Determining Indigency

Tribal Ordinances and Court Rules

Court Rules for the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Court Actions, Warrants and Subpoenas

Judicial Ordinance

Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Ordinance

Court Opinions

Alyssa Bailey, et al. v. Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians, et al.
March 17, 2012 (CIV-2011-027)

In this civil action, Petitioners allege that Respondents, while acting in their official capacities, denied Petitioners an opportunity to apply for tribal citizenship that was afforded to some others. In response, Respondents filed a Motion to Dismiss on the grounds that the Tribal Court cannot acquire jurisdiction over the Tribe, or over any cause of action alleged against the Tribe, without the express consent of the Tribe or an unequivocal waiver of sovereign immunity from suit expressly given by the Tribe which neither the Tribe’s Constitution, Enrollment Ordinance, nor Judicial Ordinance provide.

The Court granted Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss on the grounds that there has been no waiver of the Tribe’s immunity from this kind of suit. The Tribal Constitution’s Bill of Rights provides a waiver of sovereign immunity that is limited to Tribal members. Furthermore, there is no waiver of sovereign immunity in the Tribe’s Judicial Ordinance or in the Enrollment Ordinance. Thus, the Court has no authority over Respondents.