Negotiating Jurisprudence in Tribal Court and the Emergence of a Tribal State


Examination of jurisprudence in a single Ojibwe tribal court and the trials that take place in it over alleged violations of recently codified tribal law on off-reservation hunting suggests that many of these communities are becoming statelike and that tribal courts are instrumental in producing this transformation. As instrumentalities of tribal sovereignty, tribal courts facilitate the ongoing stratification of local Indian societies as particular kin networks consolidate their hold on political power.

Enmeshed with the federal and state government in the realization of their sovereignty in the federal Indian-policy era of self-determination, tribes typically default to trading off the institutional cultural distinctiveness that has survived colonization even as symbolic and rhetorical expressions of cultural difference flourish and proliferate.

Resource Type

Nesper, Larry. "Negotiating Jurisprudence in Tribal Court and the Emergence of a Tribal State." Current Anthropology, Volume 48, Number 5. The University of Chicago Press. Chicago, Illinois. October 2007. Article.

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