• Telling Them What They Want to Hear: Involvement with the Indigenous Populations as a Lawyer-Legal Anthropologist in Alaska and Canada

      Conn, Stephen (Justice Center, University of Alaska Anchorage, 1989-04)
      For some purposes — most notably when the legal question of tribal sovereignty is pursued — Alaska has held firm to the principle that all Alaskans are subject to a single law and that village tribes lack legal authority. Yet in practice the history of Alaska bush justice has been to employ informal, extralegal approaches until formal law could muster sufficient resources to intervene and displace informal law.This paper describes the tension between official and unofficial approaches to solving problems such as alcohol, gasoline sniffing, and substance abuse and the attendant social disorder in rural Alaska villages where the structures of formal law and law enforcement are largely absent, and explores the role lawyers can play to improve the legal system within villages.