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Native American Culture/Native American judical System


Do you know of any problems involving the judicial power between Native American Tribes and the United States government. Specifically over who holds the right to deal with judicial issues that occur on Native American Reservations.

Each Native Nation or tribe has their own tribal laws and depending upon the level of government they have chosen, have the right to their own justice on all civil matters that occur on their tribal lands. However, there are serious conflicts when crimes are committed by non-members on tribal lands especially in the cases of capital crime. In those cases, since they become an extension of federal criminal law, they are often taken over by the FBI and given over to the nearest applicable Federal District Court. One writer, who had really spent a great deal of research and time exposing these conflicts, was Tony Hillerman. I would recommend any of his fast-paced Jim Chee series mystery books (A thief of Time, Falling Man, Dance Hall of the Dead) to get an solid view of this in action on the Navajo Reservation. Of course, there are also often State jurisdictional overlaps and each tribe has a unique relationship with State and Federal Government arising from their often widely dispersed tribal lands and members. It can be very confusing and often, cases fall apart because of the jurisdictional conflicts. Hope this helps.  

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Richard Sutton


As a direct reservation trader in all aspects of American Indian arts since 1985, I've answered questions regarding cultural property issues, origins of traditional crafts, materials and techniques, collecting, authenticity, symbols and, of course, repairs! We have operated a retail gallery since that time, bricks and mortar until 2007 and online since 1996. Our online operation closed in 2/2015, to allow me to finally write full-time. My writing site can be found at I'll be adding a book or two from our trader experiences under the pen name of W.T. Durand and the rest of my fiction is under my own name. We are not "New Age" practitioners of adopted American Indian religious ceremonies or combined philosophies. If you are seeking such knowledge for spiritual reasons, we will only provide answers that address factual information on these subjects. Unless one is raised in a traditional, American Indian family with language, culture and religious belief intact, we don't believe that simply applying the trappings or cultural property of a given traditional group will give a non-Indian (Native if you prefer)any insight other than the academic.


My primary focus is on Southwester American Indian Nations and their people, but I also have experience in Plains and Northeastern traditions, having engaged in active trade and retail since 1985 and study for most of my life. I am not claiming any expertise at all in the work, techniques, lifeways or crafts that are made by the Native People of Mexico. They are not the same, either linguistically or culturally but certainly their crafts deserve discussion and appraisal by those who are able to provide real information.

I was a guest on Fox Network "Lifestyles" program, during the 1990s, to discuss how to tell forgeries, and authenticating jewelry as Native American work. I have also written extensively for our website, and our Ebay Store.

UofO, 1970 active in the Authentic American Indian Arts business and direct Trader since 1985. Graphic Designer and published novelist.

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