The UCI Law Center for Empirical Research on the Legal Profession (CERLP), the UCI Department of Anthropology, and the American Bar Foundation (ABF) welcome Justin B. Richland to discuss his recently published book, Cooperation without Submission: Indigenous Jurisdictions in Native Nation–US Engagements (University of Chicago Press, 2021).

With comments from:
Maggie Blackhawk, NYU Law
John Borrows, University of Victoria Law School
Elizabeth Mertz, ABF & University of Wisconsin Law School
Joseph Weiss, Wesleyan University

Introductory remarks from Ann Southworth (UCI Law) and a toast by Bill Maurer (UCI School of Social Sciences).

About the Book

It is well-known that there is a complicated relationship between Native American Tribes and the US government. Relations between Tribes and the federal government are dominated by the principle that the government is supposed to engage in meaningful consultations with the tribes about issues that affect them.

In Cooperation without Submission, Justin B. Richland, an associate justice of the Hopi Appellate Court and ethnographer, closely examines the language employed by both Tribes and government agencies in over eighty hours of meetings between the two. Richland shows how Tribes conduct these meetings using language that demonstrates their commitment to nation-to-nation interdependency, while federal agents appear to approach these consultations with the assumption that federal law is supreme and ultimately authoritative. In other words, Native American Tribes see themselves as nations with some degree of independence, entitled to recognition of their sovereignty over Tribal lands, while the federal government acts to limit that authority. In this vital book, Richland sheds light on the ways the Tribes use their language to engage in “cooperation without submission.”

About the Author

Justin B. Richland is a Faculty Fellow at the American Bar Foundation and Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Irvine. Prior to his appointment as an ABF Faculty Fellow, Professor Richland served as a Research Professor at the ABF from 2016-2018. He studies contemporary Native American law and politics, particularly with a focus on the interactions between tribal nations in the U.S. and the U.S. federal and state governments. His work has been published in several leading peer-reviewed journals, including the Annual Review of AnthropologyLaw and Social Inquiry, and the Maryland Journal of International Law. In addition to Cooperation without Submission, he is the author of two books: Arguing with Tradition: The Language of Law in Hopi Tribal Court (University of Chicago Press, 2008) and Introduction to Tribal Legal Studies (with Sarah Deer), (Alta Mira Press, 2015). In April 2016, he was named a J.S. Guggenheim Fellow.

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