Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: September 25, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952637 | Print ISBN: 9780761923879 | Online ISBN: 9781412952637| Publisher:Sage Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Aboriginal and Indigenous Peoples, Legal Systems Of
Daniel P. Strouthes
The legal systems of non-Western peoples deserve special treatment. Some legal philosophers have argued that because folk and customary law, as non-Western legal systems are sometimes known, are (usually) oral, they represent ancient, unchanging law, as opposed to Western written law, which is new, a distinction lacking empirical foundation. An older term, primitive law , refers to the law of technologically primitive peoples. Some writers erroneously refer to U.S. federal law pertaining to aboriginal peoples as aboriginal law and indigenous law , but these terms should refer to these peoples' own law and institutional systems. Some do not accept the idea of legal systems other than those found at the level of the state. However, most have long realized that leaders within all groups make principled decisions pertaining to disputes, which control the behavior of group members, even if the decisions run counter to the law of the larger society. ...