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.
and#8220;Howard has written a very good book, which demonstrates that the Canadian Sioux have retained some traditions that their relatives in the United States have abandoned. The Canadian Sioux is recommended reading to students of Sioux traditions.and#8221;and#8212;Minnesota History
andquot;Iand#39;m glad Joy Porter has written masterfully about this matter of continuity in Land and Spirit in Native America.andquot;andmdash;Simon Ortiz, author of Woven Stone, From Sand Creek, and Out There Somewhere
andquot;Joy Porterand#39;s Land and Spirit in Native America effectively challenges the empty rhetoric and wishful thinking about pan-Indian holism, spirituality, and place. In its place Porter offers a nuanced, grounded, and insightful investigation of the role of spirit and land in a range of tribal localities and uses an equally wide range of modalities to remind us the ways in which American Indian tribes have experienced and expressed the relationship of place and person in the last two hundred years. Excellent, insightful, and considered--a valuable addition to the field.andquot;andmdash;David Treuer, professor of English at University of Minnesota, Leech Lake Reservation
andquot;This volume offers a unique study of environmentalism and the author shows great respect for Native Americans and their beliefs and proclaims that they have much to teach wider society.andquot;andmdash;Library Journal
andquot;In an era when environmental problems are growing in number and severity, this interdisciplinary book is timely for examining humanityand#39;s place in nature by scrutinizing in historical and comparative perspective the spiritual ecology of Native Americans. . . . Porter lays some of the crucial foundation for a fundamental rethinking of the vital interrelationships between religion and nature for the sake of creating a far more sustainable, just, peaceful, and spiritual society. Summing Up: Recommended.andquot;andmdash;Choice
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.
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.
and#160;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.
About the Author
James H. Howard (1925and#8211;82) was a professor of anthropology at Oklahoma State University. His many publications include The Warrior Who Killed Custer: The Personal Narrative of Chief Joseph White Bull
and Shawnee: The Ceremonialism of a Native American Tribe and Its Cultural Background
Raymond J. DeMallie is Chancellorand#8217;s Professor of Anthropology and American Studies, codirector of the American Indian Studies Research Institute, and curator of North American Ethnology at the Mathers Museum of World Cultures at Indiana University.
Douglas R. Parks is a professor of anthropology and codirector of the American Indian Studies Research Institute at Indiana University, and editor of the journal Anthropological Linguistics.
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