Respondents’ Legal Counsel – Tribal Family Healing to Wellness Court

Court of Central Jurisdiction

Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe
43408 Oodena Drive
Onamia, MN 56539

September 6, 2022 (reissue of earlier RFP)

October 3, 2022 (by 5:00 p.m. CST)

(if necessary)
October 6, 2022-
October 7, 2022

Respondents’ Legal Counsel – Tribal Family Healing to Wellness Court

Qualified Attorneys


A. Purpose. This request for proposals (RFP) is to contract for legal services to repre-sent individuals seeking to participate in or admitted to the Non-Removable Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe’s Family Healing to Wellness Court (“FHWTC”), Noojimo’wiigamig Inaawanidiwag (Healing Journey). The Band, a federally recog-nized Indian tribe, is headquartered at the Mille Lacs Band Tribal Government Center located at 43408 Oodena Drive, Onamia, MN 56539. This contract will be paid from Grant Number # 2020-AC-BX-0028, from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Jus-tice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance. The period for the contract is November 1, 2022, to September 30, 2025.

B. Description of the Non-Removable Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe (“Band”), a constituent of the federally recognized Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, has 4,754 enrolled members and is in northeast central Minnesota. The Mille Lacs Band’s reservation includes three distinct rural districts. The Band also maintains an Urban Office serving Band members living in the Twin Cities area.

C. Description of the Mille Lacs Band Court of Central Jurisdiction, Family Healing to Wellness Court. The Band’s Judicial Branch is established as the Court of Central Ju-risdiction, which includes the trial-level District Court and the appellate-level Court of Appeals. The largest percentage of civil cases heard by the Band’s District Court are those involving child abuse and neglect, Children in Need of Protection or Services (“CHIPS”). The majority of CHIPS cases involve substance use by parents, guardians and/or custodians. To address these cases more effectively in a culturally reflective manner, in 2022, the Band enacted Title 5, Chapter 4 of the Mille Lacs Band Statutes establishing a Tribal Family Healing to Wellness Court. (Found here: https://millelacsband.com/government/tribal-register/constitution-and-band-statutes/title-5-judicial-branch.)


The Mille Lacs Band Family Healing to Wellness Court Program (“FHTWC”), Noojimo’wiigamig Inaawanidiwag (“Healing Journey”), uses a culturally grounded, collaborative team approach to assist parents, guardians, and custodians whose children are the subject of CHIPS proceedings as a result of parental/custodial substance use. The primary goals of the program are to (1) assist the parents, guardians, and/or custodians recover from substance use disorder, (2) decrease the amount of time children spend in out-of-home care, and (3) expedite family reunification. The FHTWC will provide coordinated direct services to the children and their parents, guardians, or custodians.

The parent, guardian, or custodian of a child who is either a Band member, eligible for Band membership, or a descendant of a Band member, who is named as a respondent in a CHIPS peti-tion, and who is diagnosed with substance use disorder is eligible to participate in the Healing Journey (subject to certain restrictions). The anticipated caregiver program benefits are that they will be able to curtail their substance use, avoid adjudication in the CHIPS matter, and be reuni-fied with their child(ren) more quickly with reduced prospects of future removals.


To be considered qualified for consideration for an award, the Offeror must meet the following criteria:
A. Is admitted to practice or willing to apply for admission to practice before the Mille Lacs Band Court of Central Jurisdiction.
B. Is in good standing in all bars to which Offeror is admitted to practice.
C. Has demonstrated knowledge and litigation experience in the practice of child pro-tection/welfare law—preferably has been involved in Child In Need of Protection or Services (CHIPS) cases before the Mille Lacs Band District Court, other tribal courts lo-cated in the State of Minnesota, or the State of Minnesota District Courts.
D. Possesses knowledge of the federal Indian Child Welfare Act, 25 U.S.C. § 1901 et seq.
E. Possesses familiarity with and affinity for the philosophy and operation of Tribal Healing to Wellness Courts or Family or Adult Treatment (Drug) Courts.
F. Can give the assurance that the Offeror has no conflict of interest arising from the representation of former or current clients that would bar Offeror’s representation of future FHTWC applicants and participants.


The project period for which legal services are needed is November 1, 2022, to September 30, 2025. By written agreement of the Mille Lacs Band and the attorney, the period may be extend-ed.


It is anticipated that the Noojimo’wiigamig Inaawanidiwag program will admit five (5) partici-pants in its inaugural year, up to eight (8) in its second year of operation, and up to ten (10) par-ticipants in its third year. Mille Lacs Band members who required representation in CHIPS matters are eligible to receive legal services from the Mille Lacs Band Legal Aid (BMLA) office. Non-Band member parents, guardians, or custodians however are ineligible for BMLA services; thus, this contract is to provide that representation. It is estimated that about 40% of the caregivers apply-ing for the FHTWC will be non-Band members. Over the course of the contract period, the con-tracted attorney will be appointed to represent approximately nine (9) individuals.

It is anticipated that a majority of the services may be provided via remote electronic means. On occasion, when a hearing or staffing necessitates it, the Offeror may be required to appear in person at the Mille Lacs Band Court Facility in Onamia, MN. The Offeror shall be readily available to perform the below-listed services pursuant to an Order Appointing Counsel by the Mille Lacs Band District Court:

A. Inform prospective applicants to the Healing Journey Program of its benefits and re-quirements and prepare and file the Petition for Admission on the applicants’ behalf in the District Court.
B. Represent the applicants as necessary in the CHIPS proceedings until the caregiver is admitted to the FHTWC.
C. Once the caregiver is admitted to the program, participate on the FHTWC Team as necessary by attending the periodic staffing of participant cases (video or teleconfer-encing may be possible).
D. Represent the participants in status hearings, and by filing motions and other plead-ings as the participants’ representation necessitates.
E. If a participant is non-compliant with the program requirements and the team rec-ommends that a consequence (sanction) be imposed or that the participant be termi-nated from the program, represent the participant in responding to those recom-mendations.
F. Attend periodic trainings to learn about emerging legal issues and promising practices for Tribal Family Healing to Wellness Courts if Band or other funding is available.


This contract will compensate the successful Offeror at the rate of $250.00 per hour and the total compensation to be paid over the course of the contract shall not exceed $34,500.00. The suc-cessful Offeror must be prepared to submit monthly detailed billing statements for all services rendered utilizing the $250.00 hourly rate, broken down into time increments of tenths of an hour.


A proposal must include the required documents below and should provide the requested infor-mation with sufficient detail to facilitate evaluation by reviewers. The proposal shall include, as a minimum, the following:

A. Cover Page. A cover page, including the Request for Proposal Title, due date, name, mail-ing address, telephone number, fax number, and email address of the submitting person.
B. Criteria Satisfaction. A statement of how the Offeror meets the “Contractor Criteria” set forth in Section III above. Provide the name, bar number(s)(if any), and resume of the con-sultant-attorney that will perform the Scope of Work.
C. Indian Certified Entity Statement. A statement regarding whether the proposal is submit-ted on behalf of an Indian Certified Entity and entitled to preference according to 18 MLBS § 413. An Indian Certified Entity is defined as an entity certified as having at least fifty-one percent (51%) or more of the ownership interests are held by one or more Indians and in which daily management and control is provided by one or more Indians. “Indian” means a member of a federally recognized Indian tribe. If the business is asserting that it is an Indian-owned business, it must submit for and receive certification as an Indian Certified Entity by the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Tribal Employment Rights Office (“TERO”). The TERO may be contacted at (320) 532-4778. The certification or a copy of the submitted ap-plication for certification must be included with the proposal.
D. References. Names, addresses, contact persons, email addresses, and telephone numbers of at least two individuals, unrelated to the Offeror, who can be contacted as references.
E. Conflict of Interest Statement. The Offeror must disclose any potential conflict of interest that might arise if selected for the award of the contract with the Mille Lacs Band of Ojib-we or the Mille Lacs Band Court of Central Jurisdiction. If no potential conflict of interest is known to exist, Offeror shall certify that fact. A description of Offeror’s system for check-ing for and addressing potential future conflicts of interest must also be detailed.
F. Writing Sample. A brief writing sample demonstrating Offeror’s advocacy abilities, such as a motion or brief, must be provided. Any identifying information should be redacted from the submitted document.


Proposals are due on or before August 26, 2022, by 5:00 p.m. (Central) and must be emailed to: Gilda.Burr@millelacsband.com or mailed and addressed as follows:

Mille Lacs Band Court of Central Jurisdiction
ATTN: Gilda Burr, Court Administrator
43408 Oodena Drive
Onamia, MN 56539

Proposals submitted in an untimely manner will be rejected.


The Mille Lacs Band Court of Central Jurisdiction will perform the evaluation of proposals. This process will begin on August 29, 2022. During the evaluation period, the RFP Manager may initi-ate discussions with the Offerors who submit proposals for the purpose of clarification, but pro-posals may be accepted and evaluated without such discussions.


The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe reserves the right to reject any and all proposals received in re-sponse to this RFP. A contract for the accepted proposal will be drafted based upon the factors described in this RFP and in accordance with the Band’s procurement policies and the require-ments governing U.S. Department of Justice grants as set forth in 2 C.F.R. Part 200 and other ap-plicable law. Selection is also dependent on the negotiation of a mutually acceptable contract be-tween the Offeror and the Band.


A selection of a successful proposal will be made within fourteen (14) business days of the closing date for the submission of proposals. Upon entering into a contract with the successful Offeror, all other offerors will be informed in writing that a contract has been fully executed.


Inquiries concerning this Request for Proposals may be made via email to Gilda Burr, Court Ad-ministrator and RFP Manager at gilda.burr@millelacsband.com or by calling (320) 532-7401.