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Hon. Joseph Flies-Away

Joseph Thomas Flies-Away, J.D., M.P.A.


Joseph Thomas Flies-Away (Hualapai), Chief Justice of the Hualapai Nation Court of Appeals & governance consultant, describes himself as a community and nation building facilitator. As a consultant, Flies-Away facilitates tribal community & nation building projects in planning, evaluation, technical assistance, research, and training. Focusing on developing justice systems, including Healing to Wellness Courts, Flies-Away is interested in how courts and other governmental institutions contribute to affective governance and ‘living together well’. Judge Flies-Away’s experience includes serving as a Hualapai Tribal Council Member, Director of the Tribe’s Department of Planning & Community Vision, promoter and Chairman of the Board of the Tribe’s corporation, HBE, Inc., and Chief Judge and Associate Judge of the Hualapai Tribal Court (trial court). Justice Flies-Away has also taught students from Jr. High to the university, including Lecturer in Law at Stanford University School of Law and Lecturer in Native American Studies in the Stanford School of Humanities & Sciences, Arizona State, and UCLA.

In his first term as Chief Judge, Flies-Away helped to plan, implement, then preside over the Hualapai Wellness Court, which later became a Mentor Court. It was one of the first wellness courts to offer both an adult and juvenile docket. On his own and as a consultant for the Tribal Law and Policy Institute (TLPI) and other agencies Flies-Away assists tribes and Alaskan villages to plan, develop, and refine Tribal Healing to Wellness Courts. Working with TLPI, Judge Flies-Away helped produce the Overview Healing to Wellness Courts; Healing to Wellness Courts: The 10 key Components; and the Wellness Court Judge’s Bench Book (draft), which is currently being updated. In his own writing, Judge Flies-Away describes Wellness Courts as Therapeutic Jurisprudence +, ‘the plus’ being a spiritual element added to the psychological and emotional impact concerns of Tribal justice. Spiritual in this context connotes how individuals and groups feel connected, linked, and tied together, a bond that strengthens the spirit and soul. Flies-Away believes that many addicts seek and rely on substances to help them feel connected and apart. Healing to Wellness Courts, for Flies-Away, provides a format for participants to find alternate ways to feel connected, related, empowered, and restored. Flies-Away’s is also a member of the National Advisory Council for NIAAA (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism).

Through his experience and education as a judge, council member, planner, and teacher, Judge Flies-Away is familiar and experienced with a broad spectrum of issues and concerns Indigenous peoples face in their endeavors to re-build strong communities, governments, and nations. Flies-Away commits to comprehensive strategies and facilitations in the areas of human capital development, organizational development, community infrastructure development/environmental support, and economic development (what he refers to as the People, Policy, Place, & Pecuniary Possibilities or How the People Gather Ground & Grow). Flies-Away offers holistic workshops and concepts that embrace Indigenous processes, including the Spirituality of Law and Warrior of Law; and speaks to various audiences on Indigenous governance, law, and leadership. Judge Flies-Away holds a Juris doctor Degree from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and is a graduate of Stanford University in English Literature.