Robert Don Gifford, II – CHIEF DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
Robert Don Gifford is the Chief District Court Judge hearing civil, criminal, and juvenile matters arising before the Kaw Nation. A tribal member of the Cherokee Nation and a former editor on the American Indian Law Review, Judge Gifford is also a Senior Trial Attorney with the law firm of Gungoll, Jackson, Box & Devoll in Oklahoma City where he focuses on Native American Law, White Collar Criminal Defense, and Complex Civil Litigation.
Judge Gifford is also an Associate Justice for the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma, a Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves, and an adjunct law professor at the law schools at Oklahoma City University, the University of Oklahoma, and the University of Arkansas. Judge Gifford previously served as a federal prosecutor for the U.S. Department of Justice for fifteen years, as an Assistant D.A. in Tulsa County, on active duty as an Army JAG in various locations, and for the Cherokee Nation under Chief Wilma Mankiller. As an Assistant United States Attorney, Judge Gifford served as the Tribal Liaison, Human Trafficking Coordinator, and as the Anti-Terrorism Coordinator.
Judge Gifford has served on the Board of Governors for the Oklahoma Bar Association, as founder and Chair of the Military & Veteran’s’ Law Section, Chair for the Oklahoma Lawyers for America’s Heroes programs, and is the Chair-elect (2018) for the Criminal Law Section for the Oklahoma Bar Association. In 2013, Chief Judge Gifford was named by the Oklahoma Bar Association’s Criminal Law Section as the “Professional Advocate of the Year,” and in 2016 was awarded the Cardozo Award for his contributions in Criminal Law.
Chief Judge Gifford received his law degree from the University of Oklahoma College of Law, undergraduate degrees from Southwestern College in Winfield, KS, and holds a Masters in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College at Carlisle Barracks.
Charles H. Tripp – CHIEF SUPREME COURT JUSTICE
Charles H. Tripp, JD, is an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation and is a founding partner of Indian Collaborative Consultants, LLC. He is also a founding partner of Legal Advocates in Indian Country, LLP, and a widely recognized law firm with offices in Oklahoma and Washington. Both firms serve native people and tribal entities throughout the country.
Mr. Tripp is currently the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Kaw Nation in Oklahoma and serves as district Judge, attorney general and prosecutor/public defender for several tribal judiciaries in Oklahoma and Kansas.
Mr. Tripp is an alumnus of the University of Tulsa, having received his Bachelor’s Degree in 1988 in Business Administration, a Juris Doctor in 1993 and Master’s Degree in Business Administration in 1995. He is a member in good standing with the Oklahoma Bar Association, Federal Indian Bar Association and has been admitted to practice in numerous tribal courts.
C. Steven Hager – SUPREME COURT JUSTICE
C. Steven Hager is the Director of Litigation at Oklahoma Indian Legal Services, Inc. He has worked at OILS since 1990. Hager graduated from the University of Oklahoma College Of Law with a Juris Doctor in 1987. He received a bachelor of arts from Phillips University in 1981.
Hager is the author of 16 editions of The Indian Child Welfare Act: Case And Analysis (Oklahoma Indian Legal Services, April, 2012), a CD-ROM that has been recognized nationally as an important resource in the practice of the Indian Child Welfare Act. Hager also wrote The Indian Child Welfare Act: The Obligations of Justice, an article published in the American Bar Association’s Children’s Rights Newsletter in Spring, 2009, and republished in the ABA’s Minority Rights Newsletter in their Fall, 2009 Edition. He also wrote Transfer to Tribal Courts In Oklahoma under the Indian Child Welfare Act and Factors for the Tribal Courts’ Consideration, published in the February 23, 2010 edition of the Oklahoma Bar Journal.
He is a contributing author to the Child Fatality Review (George Washington Publishing, 2009), a treatise for social workers, attorneys, and doctors, and the Greenwood Encyclopedia of American Indian Issues Today (ABC-CLIO Publishing, 2012). He is a member of 24 tribal bars in Oklahoma. He has twice served as the chair of the Indian Law Section of the Oklahoma Bar Association and is a member of the Oklahoma Indian Bar Association.
Hager is also a member of the Oklahoma County Post-Adjudication Review Board, which is one of two such boards nationally that specializes in ICWA cases. Hager also serves on the Foster Care System Improvement Task Force for the state of Oklahoma, which seeks ways to improve the experience of all children who are in state custody. He is also a member of the Oklahoma Bar Association’s Technology Committee.
Hager received the 2008 Pawnee CASA Attorney of the Year Award.
Lisa B. Otipoby Herbert – SUPREME COURT JUSTICE
Lisa B. Otipoby Herbert is an enrolled member of the Comanche Nation and was originally appointed to the Kaw Nation Supreme Court in 2005, and has recently been sworn in for her second term with the Court.
Justice Herbert received her undergraduate degree in Political Science from Phillips University in Enid, Oklahoma in 1988. She received her Juris Doctorate from the University of Kansas School Of Law in 1993, and has pursued graduate work at Oklahoma State University in equine studies. She then furthered her judicial education at the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada in 2009.
Justice Herbert presently serves the Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians of Nevada, the Otoe-Missouria Tribal Court (CFR), Southern Plains Area (CFR Court), Osage Nation, Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma, Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma as Trial Court and Associate Judge and CFR Appeals Magistrate. She also serves as the Children’s Court Prosecutor for the Comanche Nation Children’s Court and the Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s Juvenile Division.
Justice Herbert serves as a municipal judge for several Oklahoma municipalities including Kaw City (since 1998), Shidler (since 1999) and Fairfax, Oklahoma. She has been active with the Oklahoma Municipal Judges Association since 1998, serving as a board member from 2005 to 2010.
Prior to returning to Oklahoma in 1998, Justice Herbert had a criminal and domestic practice in Lawrence, Kansas. Justice Herbert had the opportunity to work in gaming regulation and presently serves on the Pawnee Nation Gaming Commission, and has recently been appointed to serve on the Ponca Tribal Gaming Commission.
In her spare time, Justice Herbert enjoys spending time with her husband, Brian Herbert and their horses, dogs and cats on their farm near Ponca City, Oklahoma.
Chrissi Ross Nimmo – Domestic Violence Judge
Chrissi Ross Nimmo is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation has been an Assistant Attorney General for Cherokee Nation since 2008. Chrissi primarily focuses on in-house counsel duties and the Indian Child Welfare Act for the tribe. Past responsibilities include tribal prosecution and serving as the Adam Walsh Sex Offender Notification and Registration Act Compliance Office.
She represented Cherokee Nation in Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl (known as “Baby Veronica”) before both the United States Supreme Court and the South Carolina Supreme Court and in Nielson v. Ketchum before the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. She has represented Cherokee Nation in over 300 ICWA cases. Chrissi conducts ICWA education and training at the local, state and national level. Chrissi is the former president of the Cherokee County Bar association and former chair of the Indian Law Section of the Oklahoma Bar Association.
Chrissi and her husband Jim, a Tulsa firefighter, reside in Tahlequah, OK, with their twin daughter and son, Mattie and James, where they try to spend as much time possible outdoors and near one of the areas beautiful water sources.
Chrissi is admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of Oklahoma, the Supreme Court of Cherokee Nation, the U.S. District Courts for the Eastern and Northern Districts of Oklahoma, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit and the United States Supreme Court.
2008, J.D., University of Tulsa College of Law, with Highest Honor
2005, M.B.A., Northeastern State University, Honors Graduate
2002, B.A., Northeastern State University, Summa Cum Laude