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Navajo Courts and Navajo Common Law: A Tradition of Tribal Self-Governance (Indigenous Americas)by Raymond D. Austin
Synopses & Reviews
The Navajo Nation court system is the largest and most established tribal legal system in the world. Since the landmark 1959 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Williams v. Lee that affirmed tribal court authority over reservation-based claims, the Navajo Nation has been at the vanguard of a far-reaching, transformative jurisprudential movement among Indian tribes in North America and indigenous peoples around the world to retrieve and use traditional values to address contemporary legal issues.
A justice on the Navajo Nation Supreme Court for sixteen years, Justice Raymond D. Austin has been deeply involved in the movement to develop tribal courts and tribal law as effective means of modern self-government. He has written foundational opinions that have established Navajo common law and, throughout his legal career, has recognized the benefit of tribal customs and traditions as tools of restorative justice.
In Navajo Courts and Navajo Common Law, Justice Austin considers the history and implications of how the Navajo Nation courts apply foundational Navajo doctrines to modern legal issues. He explains key Navajo foundational concepts like Hózhó (harmony), K'é (peacefulness and solidarity), and K'éí (kinship) both within the Navajo cultural context and, using the case method of legal analysis, as they are adapted and applied by Navajo judges in virtually every important area of legal life in the tribe.
In addition to detailed case studies, Justice Austin provides a broad view of tribal law, documenting the development of tribal courts as important institutions of indigenous self-governance and outlining how other indigenous peoples, both in North America and elsewhere around the world, can draw on traditional precepts to achieve self-determination and self-government, solve community problems, and control their own futures.
Book News Annotation:
Austin (jurist, member of state bars of Utah, Nevada, and the Navajo Nation Bar Association), a justice on the Navajo Nation Supreme Court for 16 years, addresses the history and implications of how Navajo courts apply foundational Navajo doctrine to the legal issues of today. He explains primary foundational concepts such as harmony, peacefulness and solidarity, and kinship as they apply to Navajo culture, and how they are used by Navajo judges in almost all significant areas of legal life in the tribe. The book also includes case studies and an overview of tribal law. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
In Native American Environmentalism the history of indigenous peoples in North America is brought into dialogue with key environmental terms such as and#8220;wildernessand#8221; and and#8220;nature.and#8221; The conflict between Christian environmentalist thinking and indigenous views, a conflict intimately linked to the current environmental crisis in the United States, is explored through an analysis of parks and wilderness areas, gardens and gardening, and indigenous approaches to land as expressed in contemporary art, novels, and historical writing.
Countering the inclination to associate indigenous peoples with and#8220;wildernessand#8221; or to conflate everything and#8220;Indianand#8221; with a vague sense of the ecological, Joy Porter shows how Indian communities were forced to migrate to make way for the nationand#8217;s and#8220;wildernessand#8221; parks in the nineteenth century. Among the first American communities to reckon with environmental despoliation, they have fought significant environmental battles and made key adaptations. By linking Native American history to mainstream histories and current debates, Porter advances the important process of shifting debate about climate change away from scientists and literary environmental writers, a project central to tackling environmental crises in the twenty-first century.
The Canadian Sioux are descendants of Santees, Yanktonais, and Tetons from the United States who sought refuge in Canada during the 1860s and 1870s. Living today on eight reserves in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, they are the least studied of all the Sioux groups. This book, originally published in 1984, helps fill that gap in the literature and remains relevant even in the twenty-first century.
Based on Howardand#8217;s fieldwork in the 1970s and supplemented by written sources, The Canadian Sioux,and#160;Second Editionand#160;descriptively reconstructs their traditional culture, many aspects of which are still practiced or remembered by Canadian Sioux although long forgotten by their relatives in the United States. Rich in detail, it presents an abundance of information on topics such as tribal divisions, documented history and traditional history, warfare, economy, social life, philosophy and religion, and ceremonialism. Nearly half the book is devoted to Canadian Sioux religion and describes such ceremonies as the Vision Quest, the Medicine Feast, the Medicine Dance, the Sun Dance, warrior society dances, and the Ghost Dance.
This second edition includes previously unpublished images, many of them photographed by Howard, and some of his original drawings.
About the Author
Justice Raymond D. Austin is the Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program’s Distinguished Jurist in Residence at the James E. Rogers College of Law at the University of Arizona. A member of the Arizona and Utah state bars and the Navajo Nation Bar Association, he served on the Navajo Nation Supreme Court from 1985 to 2001. Justice Austin is Diné from the Navajo Nation.
Table of Contents
Foreword: The Tribal Law Revolution in Indian Country Today, Robert A. Williams, Jr.
Introduction: Modern Issues, Ancient Traditions: Going Back to Fundamental Values
1. The Navajo Nation Court SystemBrief Navajo History
History of the Navajo Nation Courts
Modern Navajo Nation Courts2. Foundational Diné Law PrinciplesReturning to Traditional Navajo Laws and Methods3. Hózh= (Peace, Harmony, and Balance)Hózh= in Navajo Culture
Hózh= in the Navajo Nation Courts4. K é (Kinship Unity through Positive Values)K é in Navajo Culture
K é in the Navajo Nation Courts
K é Informs Individual and Community Rights
K é as the Basis for Equitable Rights5. K éí (Descent, Clanship, and Kinship)
K éí in Navajo Culture
K éí Informs Traditional Domestic Matters
K éí in the Navajo Nation Courts
Descent and DistributionConclusion: Law Is the Product of Human Experience
Glossary of Navajo Names and Kinship Terms
Index to Navajo Nation Court Cases, Council Resolutions, and Statutes
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