ERIC Number: ED110259
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1972-Aug
Reference Count: N/A
Traditional Athabascan Law Ways and Their Relationship to Contemporary Problems of "Bush Justice". Some Preliminary Observations on Structure and Function. Institute of Social, Economic and Government Research (ISEGR) Occasional Papers No. 7.
Hippler, Arthur E.; Conn, Stephen
Resolution of conflicts and disputes in traditional Athabascan society was based on assumptions that: (1) the authority of the leader was absolute, for as representative of both village and victim, he was limited only by the fact that the crime had to be serious enough for third party intervention and that severe sanctions demanded village consensus; (2) once called before the village authority, an individual was already determined guilty; (3) the offender was called before the village authority to redress both public and private wrongs via repentant reconciliation. Besides its authoritative character, Athabascan law entailed flexibility and deliberateness. Flexibility was manifest in formal checks on the chief's authority and the personalistic nature of legal proceedings, while deliberateness was manifest in the lack of haste in the decision making process. Among the modern day problems posed by traditional Athabascan law ways are: (1) failure to perceive the legitimacy of white legal authority, since such authority is delegated to figures of "low" status; (2) lack of parallels among the laws most frequently invoked against Athabascans (drunkenness, petty assult, etc.); (3) an impersonal vs a personal justice; (4) an assumption of innocence rather than guilt; (5) lack of parallels in the defendent/prosecutor process; and (6) abstract laws. (JC)
Descriptors: Alaska Natives, American Indians, Authoritarianism, Community Attitudes, Cultural Awareness, Cultural Background, Culture Conflict, Justice, Laws, Legal Problems, Police Community Relationship, Values
Institute of Social, Economic and Government Research, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Alaska 99701 ($1.15, Xerox copy)
Publication Type: Books
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Alaska Univ., Fairbanks. Inst. of Social, Economic, and Government Research.