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Criminalizing Culture: An Anthopologist Looks ai Native Americans and the U.S. Legal System

Bracey, Dorothy H.
June 4, 2015

Source: (2006) In, Ross, Jeffrey Ian and Gould, Larry, editors, Native Americans and the Criminal Justice System, Paradigm Publisher, Boulder, London. pp.35-49

This chapter is an attempt to do two interrelated things: (1) to identify several aspects of Native American culture that have the potential to promote conforming behavior; and (2) to point out how frequently these institutions and beliefs have come into conflict with the economic and political interests and values of the mainstream Unites States, how often those conflicts have been litigated in US courts, and how often legal processes have undermined the status and power of those institutions that might have fostered law-abiding behavior. By denying the legitimacy of these institutions – by criminalizing important aspects of Native American culture – the US legal system has weakened or eliminated those very cultural forces that might have controlled crime. (excerpt)


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