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“What Are You Going to Do with the Village's Knowledge?” Talking Tradition, Talking Law in Hopi Tribal Court

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Though the details of face-to-face talk and interaction have been studied in Anglo American and British courtrooms, few attempts have been made to extend similar analyses to the study of contemporary indigenous and (post)colonial legal institutions that continue to employ legal processes informed by both Anglo-style adversarial notions of law and “local” notions of law, culture, and tradition. Using methods of legal discourse analysis and language ideology studies, this article investigates how interlocutors in a hearing before the courts of the Hopi Indian Nation construct discourses of tradition and Anglo American jurisprudence in multiple and competing ways, and for significant sociopolitical effect. An argument is thus made for attending to the microdetails of sociolegal interactions as an important site for exploring the complex articulations between the contemporary lives of indigenous peoples and the laws with which they are imbricated.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of California

Publication date: 2005-06-01

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