Known as the "Keeper of the Western Door"


  • Peacemaker’s Court
  • Surrogate’s Court
  • Court of Appeals
Peacemaker’s Court

The Peacemakers Court is the court of general jurisdiction and is located on each of the Allegany and Cattaraugus Territories. The three Peacemakers of each court are elected every four years.


The Peacemaker’s Court upholds and maintains the integrity of the Seneca Nation in accordance with the Seneca Nation Constitution; its laws and ordinance; its customs and traditions.


One of the oldest departments in the Seneca Nation is the Peacemaker’s Court. Established in 1848 when the Senecas changed from a traditionally appointed by the Chief system to an elective system. This has been in existence for 158 years.


We are the trial court of the Nation and hear cases involving Senecas, their families and other residents in our community, and outlying areas as well as others domiciled on our territory. We hear all civil actions including domestic relations, child welfare, land disputes, environment issues, which may include Child Protection Services (CPS) and/or orders of protection, restraining orders etc. The Peacemaker’s Court is an alternative to having matters adjudicated on the territory than in the County Court system.


The goals of the Cattaraugus Court include:

  • In child welfare matters, the goal of the Cattaraugus Peacemaker’s Court is to keep the children of the Seneca Nation within our boundaries.
  • Every person who wishes to petition the Peacemaker’s Court is offered a fair hearing without prejudice.

The goals of the Allegany Court include:

  • To protect the sovereignty of the Seneca Nation of Indians by hearing our own cases and resolving our own problems and cases.
  • To render decisions that promotes the health and safety of our children, their families and the Nation.
  • To promote and strengthen the Seneca Nation Judiciary by making fair and honest decisions.
  • To strengthen the integrity and soundness of our Courts to benefit the community and foster trust in our judicial system.

To pursue fundamental fairness and equity for all Parties in each case.



Order to Show Cause Petition

Pre-Court Questionnaire

Custody Visitation Petition Form

General Petitions Form

TRO Petition

Civil Procedure Rules

Divorce/Separation Petition

Modification for Custody/Visitation

Guardianship Petition

Temporary Order of Protection

Violation of Court Order

Violation of Order of Protection


Contact Information


    Darlene Lay

    Sylvia L. Jock

    Jaimye Kelly

    2 Thomas Indian School Drive

    Irving, NY 14081


    Fax: 532-8317


    Suzanne M. Case

    Christina N. John

    Gloria Heron

    90 Ohi:yo’ Way

    Salamanca, NY 14779

    (716) 945-1790

    Fax: 945-0209

Surrogate’s Court

The Surrogate Court is comprised of one Surrogate for each of the Allegany and Cattaraugus Territories, and exercises jurisdiction over probate matters.


The Surrogate’s Court has been in existence since 1848 in conjunction with the Seneca Nation Constitution as part of the Legislative, Executive and Judiciary departments.


The Surrogates have jurisdiction over the probate of wills and the settlement of estates for members of the Seneca Nation. The Surrogate’s Court is critical to the orderly functioning of our Nation’s existence. The work of the Surrogates Court impacts the lives of all members of our Nation.


Services provided include, the assisting in wills and Power of Attorney requests, Notary Public, guardianship for incompetent person(s), requests for Administrators and Executors deeds. We also provide Probate of wills and estates.


The goal of the Surrogate’s Court is to increase and provide services to the elderly and the disabled, both on and off territories.



Steps for Administering Estate with Surrogate’s Court

Last Will and Testament Paperwork

Allegany Cattaraugus Intake Form

Contact Information


    Honorable Luana Jimerson

    2 Thomas Indian School Drive
    Irving, NY 14081
    (716) 532-0024


    Honorable Lani K. George

    90 O:hi’yoh Way
    Salamanca, NY 14779
    (716) 945-1790

Court of Appeals

The Court of Appeals is comprised of six judges who hear appeals from the Peacemakers and Surrogates Courts. The Council serves as Supreme Court and exercises limited jurisdiction over certain appeals from the Court of Appeals.


The Judicial Branch of Government was started in 1993. Their purpose is to review Native Court decisions that are appealed.


Services provided include, notarizations, filing of appeals from trial courts, filing of Writs of Permission.


The goals of the Court include, upholding the laws and Constitution of the Seneca Nation.



Notice of Appeal Form

Notice of Appeal Form Directions