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Indian tradition and custom in adjudication under rules of evidence

Zion, James W
June 4, 2015

Source: Printed online by Tribal Court Clearinghouse.

In this article, Zion addresses the issue whether Indian tradition and custom are relevant in American law. Specifically, Zion examines how courts receive evidence of Indian tradition and custom under rules of evidence. Toward this end, he provides a historical sketch of courts in Indian territory. Then he discusses the definition and nature of tradition and custom for evidentiary purposes in court settings, the status of tradition and custom as “law,â€? the assertion of culture as a legal defense (“the cultural defenseâ€?), rules of evidence for receiving Indian tradition and custom, judicial notice, and expert testimony. Additionally, Zion compares the American situation with developments in Canadian law concerning tradition and custom as evidence.


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