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Arguing with TraditionThe Language of Law in Hopi Tribal Court$
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Justin B. Richland

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780226712932

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226712963.001.0001

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Suffering into Truth: Hopi Law as Narrative Interaction

Suffering into Truth: Hopi Law as Narrative Interaction

(p.115) 5 Suffering into Truth: Hopi Law as Narrative Interaction
Arguing with Tradition
University of Chicago Press

This chapter explores the details of the Hopi Tribe's courtroom interaction with theories of legal narrativity via recent anthropological studies of narrative interaction. It analyzes a third Hopi hearing interaction, examining how the very operations of Hopi Tribal Court proceedings and the whole of tribal law instantiated therein are constituted by Hopi legal actors through narrative interactions that allow for the articulation of both Anglo-style notions of legal process and Hopi notions of tradition. It shows how Hopi litigants work to co-narrate the settings of their dispute claims as informed by “truths” grounded in “relational” notions of Hopi tradition that are “outside” Anglo-style law. In doing so, they are also negotiating the very operations of the Hopi court proceedings with which they are engaged. The result is the production of Hopi hearing narratives, and a macrosociological story of the Hopi law they instantiate, that are informed to their core by a unique admixture of Anglo-style and Hopi traditional norms and processes of property disputes.

Keywords:   property disputes, Hopi Tribe, Hopi Tribal Court, court proceedings, tribal law, Hopi tradition, legal narrativity, legal actors, litigants

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