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Indigenous North American Jurisprudence1

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This article explores differences between indigenous North American and contemporary Western perspectives on jurisprudence. It examines the impact of state law arising from a paradigm of control and standardization of behavior and contrasts it with indigenous "law" which reflected an emphasis on nature, diversity, and freedom. The research here suggests that political organization is a central variable affecting particular types of punishment and forms of law. The study raises central issues regarding the roles of criminal and civil law as well as different forms of sanctioning. The article proposes an agenda for future research explicating indigenous civil law which can be examined in a variety of specific social contexts varying in scale, complexity, degree of formalization, and historical and comparative setting.

Affiliations: 1: School of Justice Studies, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287-0403, U.S.A.


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