This seminar concerns Tribal Justice Systems, the ways in which America's first nations have historically and are currently structuring their governments, regulating those within their jurisdiction, and resolving disputes. Although the subject is of crucial importance to modern American Indian tribes and those who interact with them, the course deals with broader themes of what law is and how it interacts with community self-definition, colonialism, and cultural change. Topics include the history of tribal legal systems, the challenges of incorporating traditional or customary law, the ways that legal systems can encourage or discourage economic development, disputes over tribal membership, and the ways and extent to which tribal governments protect basic fairness. A previous course in Federal Indian Law or American Indian Law is neither a prerequisite nor a disqualification. Students will be required to write reflection papers with option of additional credit for an additional longer paper.
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