In recent years in both the United States and Latin America,
indigenous peoples have taken increasing control over local justice,
creating indigenous courts and asserting more autonomy in the
administration of justice in their tribes, regions, or communities.
New justice spaces, such as the Chickasaw District Courts in
Oklahoma and the Zapatista Good Governance Councils in
Chiapas, work to resolve conflict based largely on indigenous
‘customs and traditions.’ Many of the cases brought before these
local legal bodies are domestic cases that directly involve issues of
gender, women’s rights and culture. Yet the relationship between
‘indigenous traditions’ and women’s rights has been a fraught one.
This forum article considers how these courts emerged in the context
of neoliberalism and whether they provide new venues for
indigenous women to pursue their rights and to challenge gendered
social norms or practices that they find oppressive.
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