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Arguing with Tradition: The Language of Law in Hopi Tribal Court (Chicago Series in Law and Society)


Arguing with Tradition: The Language of Law in Hopi Tribal Court (Chicago Series in Law and Society) Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Arguing with Tradition is the first book to explore language and interaction within a contemporary Native American legal system. Grounded in Justin Richlands extensive field research on the Hopi Indian Nation of northeastern Arizona—on whose appellate court he now serves as Justice Pro Tempore—this innovative work explains how Hopi notions of tradition and culture shape and are shaped by the processes of Hopi jurisprudence.

Like many indigenous legal institutions across North America, the Hopi Tribal Court was created in the image of Anglo-American-style law. But Richland shows that in recent years, Hopi jurists and litigants have called for their courts to develop a jurisprudence that better reflects Hopi culture and traditions. Providing unprecedented insights into the Hopi and English courtroom interactions through which this conflict plays out, Richland argues that tensions between the language of Anglo-style law and Hopi tradition both drive Hopi jurisprudence and make it unique. Ultimately, Richlands analyses of the language of Hopi law offer a fresh approach to the cultural politics that influence indigenous legal and governmental practices worldwide.

About the Author

Justin B. Richland is assistant professor in the Department of Criminology, Law, and Society at the University of California, Irvine.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations        



1 Introduction: Arguing with Tradition in Native America

   The Ironies of Indigeneity         

   Native American Tribal Law and Tradition       

   “Anglo” Law in Indian Country: Courts of Indian Offenses        

   Tribal Courts Today: At the Edge of Tribal Sovereignty

   The Dearth of Ethnographies of Tribal Courts   

   The Approach and Aims of This Study 

   An Outline of This Study          


2 Making a Hopi Nation: “Anglo” Law Comes to Hopi Country           

   Hopi Tribal Governance           

   Hopi Village Organization and Governance       

   Court Comes to Hopi Country 

   The Hopi Tribal Court Today   

   Data and Methodologies: Talking Tradition in Hopi Property Disputes  


3 “What are you going to do with the villages knowledge?” Language Ideologies and Legal Power in Hopi Tribal Court           

   Legal Discourse Analysis and Legal Power

   Language Ideologies, Metadiscourse, and Metapragmatics

   Talking Tradition, Talking Law in Hopi Courtroom Interactions 

   The Language Ideologies of Anglo-American Law versus Hopi Traditional Authority



4 “He could not speak Hopi. . . . That puzzle— puzzled me”: The  Pragmatic Paradoxes of Hopi Tradition in Court       

   Paradox in the Pragmatics of Language and Law          

   Discourses of Cultural Difference in Hopi Court

   Iterations of Indigeneity in a Hopi Court Hearing



5 Suffering into Truth: Hopi Law as Narrative Interaction

   Legal Narrativity in and out of Court

   A Model of Hopi Law as Narrative Interaction

   The Significance of Settings: Judicial Openings of Hopi Courtroom Narrative

   The Contested Narrativity of a Hopi Property Proceeding



6 Conclusion: Arguments with Tradition

   Tradition, Culture, and the Politics of Authenticity

   Arguing with Tradition





Product Details

Richland, Justin B.
University of Chicago Press
Courts - General
Indians of north america
Hopi Indians
Administrative Law & Regulatory Practice
Indian courts -- United States.
Indians of North America -- Arizona.
Linguistics - General
Law-Legal Guides and Reference
Edition Description:
Chicago Series in Law and Society
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
Professional and scholarly
2 halftones, 2 maps, 6 line drawings
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Law » Legal Guides and Reference
History and Social Science » Linguistics » General

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