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NCJ Number: 65667 Find in a Library
Title: SITTING WITH THE INDIAN JUDGES
Journal: NATURAL HISTORY  Volume:41  Dated:(APRIL 1938)  Pages:271-274,298,302
Author(s): C WISSLER
Corporate Author: American Museum of Natural History
United States of America
Date Published: 1938
Page Count: 6
Sponsoring Agency: American Museum of Natural History
New York, NY 10024
Type: Historical Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: NARRATIVES IN THIS 1938 ARTICLE DESCRIBE THE PROCEEDINGS AND ATMOSPHERE OF AN INDIAN RESERVATION COURT, WHERE NATIVE JUDGES DISPLAY WISDOM, COMMON SENSE, AND FAMILIARITY WITH THE COMMUNITY AND INDIAN CUSTOMS.
Abstract: TWO CASES BEFORE INDIAN RESERVATION JUDGES INVOLVING THE EXCHANGE OF PARTNERS BY TWO MARRIED COUPLES AND A DRUNK APPREHENDED FOR DISORDERLY CONDUCT REVEAL THE ABSENCE OF RIGID MINOR FORMALITIES IN THE PROTOCOL OF WHITE COURTS. AS IN ALL COURTS, THE PERSONALITIES OF THE JUDGES ARE DEEMED THE MOST INFLUENTIAL FEATURE OF THE INDIAN COURT. THEIR DEMEANOR IS DIGNIFIED, THEIR UNIFORMS WHITE MEN'S SUITS, THEIR HAIR SHORT IN ACCORDANCE WITH FEDERAL REGULATIONS, BUT THEIR LANGUAGE THE NATIVE INDIAN TONGUE. THOUGH IGNORANT OF LAW BOOKS, THEY ARE CHARACTERIZED AS LEADERS WHO KNOW THAT THEIR PEOPLE'S MORAL STATUS MUST BE PRESERVED AS THEY GRADUALLY ADVANCE THROUGH THE TRANSITION FROM TRIBAL CUSTOMS TO WHITE SOCIAL PATTERNS. FURTHER, THE CULTURAL GULF BETWEEN WHITE AND INDIAN CUSTOMS CAN BE ILLUSTRATED IN A SOCIAL DINNER ATTENDED BY A WHITE MAN AND THREE INDIAN JUDGES. CONDUCTED WITH WHITE FORMALITIES WITH WHICH THE INDIANS ARE FAMILIAR, AFTER-DINNER SPEECHES EXPLAIN THE INDIAN VIEW OF THE UNIVERSE, DIVINE AND HUMAN JUSTICE, AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WHITE AND RED MEN. THAT VIEW CAN BE EXPLAINED AS SUCH: BECAUSE THE CREATOR FAVORED THE INDIANS, HE GAVE THEM A GOOD MEMORY, WHILE THE POOR WHITE MAN WAS GIVEN PAPER, PENCILS, AND A BOOK SIGNED BY THE GREAT SPIRIT, WHICH HAS BECOME THE TOOL OF HIS ASCENDING SUPREMACY. (MRK)
Index Term(s): American Indians; Indian justice; Socioculture; Tribal community relations; Tribal court system; Tribal history
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=65667

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