Welcome to the Kaw Nation



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 the Founder of Gifford Law, P.L.L.C. in Oklahoma City, where he focuses on Native American Law, White Collar Criminal Defense, Military and Veteran’s Law, and Complex Civil Litigation.

Judge Gifford also serves as a judge for the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma, the Comanche Nation, and the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, as well as a Special Judge for the City of Oklahoma City. He is also a Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves, and has served as 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, as an Assistant D.A. in Tulsa County, and on active duty as an Army JAG in various locations around the world.

Judge Gifford has served on the Board of Governors for the Oklahoma Bar Association, as Chair of the Criminal Law Section in 2018, founded and served twice as Chair of the Military & Veteran’s’ Law Section, as Chair for the Oklahoma Lawyers for America’s Heroes programs. 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. Judge Gifford has also honored by the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Director for the U.S. Marshal Service, and the Director for the Agriculture for case work as a prosecutor.

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.

Updated on 10/4/2018

Charles H. TrippCharles 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


Justice C. Steven Hager is a senior Staff Attorney at Oklahoma Indian Legal Services, where he has worked since 1990. In addition to his responsibilities at the Kaw Nation’s Supreme Court, he is the Chief Judge of the Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas and serves as an adjunct professor at the University of Oklahoma’s College of Law.

He is the author of The Indian Child Welfare Act: Case, Regulation and Analysis, currently in its 22nd edition.  Hager is also a contributing author to the Child Fatality Review: Evaluation of Accidental and Inflicted Child Death: A Clinical Guide and The Encyclopedia of American Issues Today.

Justice Hager is on the Board of Directors for the National American Indian Court Judges Association. He has twice served as the chair of the Indian Law Section of the Oklahoma Bar Association. He was honored as the 2008 Attorney of the Year by the Pawnee County Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program.

Hager received first place in 2015 in the Hargrave writing competition, held each year at the Oklahoma Supreme Court’s Sovereignty Symposium. He has won second place in the Hargrave competition in 2013, 2014 and 2018.

Updated on 10/4/2018

Lisa B. Otipoby HerbertLisa 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.

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