By Raymond D. Austin
The Navajo kingdom court docket approach is the most important and such a lot verified tribal felony method on this planet. because the landmark 1959 U.S. ultimate court docket selection in Williams v. Lee that affirmed tribal court docket authority over reservation-based claims, the Navajo country has been on the forefront of a far-reaching, transformative jurisprudential flow between Indian tribes in North the USA and indigenous peoples around the globe to retrieve and use conventional values to deal with modern criminal issues.
A justice at the Navajo state preferrred court docket for 16 years, Justice Raymond D. Austin has been deeply all for the circulate to enhance tribal courts and tribal legislations as potent technique of smooth self-government. He has written foundational evaluations that experience demonstrated Navajo universal legislation and, all through his criminal profession, has well-known the advantage of tribal customs and traditions as instruments of restorative justice.
In Navajo Courts and Navajo universal Law, Justice Austin considers the background and implications of ways the Navajo country courts follow foundational Navajo doctrines to trendy criminal matters. He explains key Navajo foundational techniques like Hózhó (harmony), K'é (peacefulness and solidarity), and K'éí (kinship) either in the Navajo cultural context and, utilizing the case approach to criminal research, as they're tailored and utilized by way of Navajo judges in nearly each very important quarter of felony existence within the tribe.
In addition to designated case reviews, Justice Austin presents a extensive view of tribal legislation, documenting the improvement of tribal courts as very important associations of indigenous self-governance and outlining how different indigenous peoples, either in North the United States and in other places worldwide, can draw on conventional precepts to accomplish self-determination and self-government, clear up neighborhood difficulties, and regulate their very own futures.
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Additional resources for Navajo Courts and Navajo Common Law: A Tradition of Tribal Self-Governance (Indigenous Americas)
The Navajo Tribal Council’s decision, however, was not a case of deliberately favoring a Western-style court system over a Navajo traditional one, but a result forced on it by state (Arizona and New Mexico) threats of extending jurisdiction into Navajo country. In essence, the decision rested on an assumption that a Navajo court system that looked and acted like an Anglo-American court system would be more palatable to non-Indian THE NAVAJO NATION COURT SYSTEM 29 policy makers. 106 Aside from the political fallout that would result from states exercising jurisdiction in Navajo country, the Navajo leaders had to consider the potential impacts of Public Law 280 and the termination policy on Navajo cultural well-being.
Navajo Tribal Council, upheld the Navajo Nation’s adjudicatory and regulatory powers, respectively, and signiWcantly clariWed and solidiWed the sovereign powers of Indian nations. Law and order (police services) on the Navajo Nation had been the responsibility of the federal government since the Navajo people returned from Bosque Redondo in the late summer of 1868. However, federal funding for police functions on the Navajo Nation had, since the beginning, been inadequate. 104 When the Navajo people requested more police protection in the outlying areas of the Navajo Nation, particularly to quell alcohol-induced violence at major ceremonies, the Bureau of Indian Affairs responded indifferently.
Yet, instead of being broken, crushed and bitter by this concentration camp experience 8 THE NAVAJO NATION COURT SYSTEM the Navajos grew stronger and their roots went deeper. 16 The core values that the people retained became the cornerstone for law and procedure used by the modern Navajo Nation government, particularly the Navajo Nation Court System. At least three factors that helped shape the modern Navajo political system can be attributed to the Navajos’ Fort Sumner experience. First, although the structure of government proposed by the military ofWcers (the twelve-village plan) did not materialize, the beginning of the end of the traditional Navajo governing system was set in motion when the military and federal government dealt with the Diné collectively, rather than as several independent bands.
Navajo Courts and Navajo Common Law: A Tradition of Tribal Self-Governance (Indigenous Americas) by Raymond D. Austin