The Encyclopedia of Native American Legal Tradition

The Encyclopedia of Native American Legal Tradition

The Encyclopedia of Native American Legal Tradition

The Encyclopedia of Native American Legal Tradition

Synopsis

Integrating American Indian law and Native American political and legal traditions, this encyclopedia includes detailed descriptions of nearly two dozen Native American Nations' legal and political systems such as the Iroquois, Cherokee, Choctaw, Navajo, Cheyenne, Creek, Chickasaw, Comanche, Sioux, Pueblo, Mandan, Wyandot, Powhatan, Mikmaq, and Yakima. Although not an Indian law casebook, this work does contain outlines of many major Indian law cases, congressional acts, and treaties. It also contains profiles of individuals important to the evolution of Indian law. This work will be of interest to scholars in several fields, including law, Native American studies, American history, political science, anthropology, and sociology.

Excerpt

Foreword: To Save a Democracy

A recent television program on the History Channel purported to tell the true story of Pocahontas. The program’s host, Roger Mudd, while discussing the English settlement at Jamestown, indicated with authority that it was then and there that the first representative government in America was assembled. After all, several months before the program was aired, the Commonwealth of Virginia and its public officers had celebrated and announced to the world that representative government in America began at Jamestown in the colony of Virginia. Presumably it was imported from England. In addition, visitors today to colonial Williamsburg and the Virginia museums at Jamestown and Yorktown learn little, if anything, about the representative democratic governments of the Indians who had lived beyond memory in what the newcomers called Virginia and America. Few visitors are aware that these democratic Indian nations and their representative governments were here and flourishing long before the time of Columbus. Few know that the word ‘‘caucus’’ is an Indian word adopted into English that describes a basic ingredient of democratic representative government. There was no word for it in the English language.

None of these visitors are told about the Iroquois representative government and how it began a confederacy uniting five independent tribal-state representative governments. Most would be amazed to discover that this Indian federal government was spread out over the present states of New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio and extended down into what is now Virginia. They would find it hard to believe that the

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