Cooperation without Submission

Cooperation without Submission

Indigenous Jurisdictions in Native Nation–US Engagements

Justin B. Richland


  • Description
  • Author
  • Info
  • Reviews


A meticulous and thought-provoking look at how Tribes use language to engage in "cooperation without submission."

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.”


Justin B. Richland:
Justin B. Richland is associate justice of the Hopi Appellate Court as well as associate professor of anthropology at the University of California, Irvine, and faculty fellow of the American Bar Foundation. He is the author of several works on the contemporary legal systems and practices of Native American Nations, including Introduction to Tribal Legal Studies and Arguing with Tradition: The Language of Law in Hopi Tribal Court, the latter also published by the University of Chicago Press.