Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2377486
 


 



Mapping Intergenerational Memories (Part I): Proving the Contemporary Truth of the Indigenous Past


Robert Hershey


University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law

Jennifer McCormack


University of Arizona - Department of Geography and Regional Development

Gillian E. Newell


Independent

January 10, 2014

Arizona Legal Studies Discussion Paper No. 14-01

Abstract:     
How Indigenous communities choose to represent spaces or spatial information is integral to constructing and archiving cultural memory, articulating current environmental use, and dealing with evidentiary issues for title or land claim cases. For Indigenous communities around the world, the legacy of Western (often, colonial) cartography and spatial theory is disconnected from the many distinct narratives of space (and time) in Native communities.

Specifically in legal situations, this disconnect often reflects a power struggle between a Western, Cartesian division of space and time, and a relational, dynamic capitulation of space and time by an Indigenous group. Indigenous communities attempting to utilize Western legal forums for recognition of their rights face evidentiary hurdles caused by the ethnocentrism inherently built into legal systems. Although exceptions exist to hearsay rules, which allow oral history to be admitted as evidence and are common in multiple jurisdictions, fact finders are not comfortable placing conclusive weight on intergenerational memories. This discomfort is based on Western society’s ideas about what constitutes reality and reliability and results in Indigenous communities being held to strictly Western and often overly lineal principles. Indigenous communities need concrete methods to bring their intergenerational memories into Western courtrooms and have lawyers and judges receive and understand these fully and from an Indigenous standpoint.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 54

Keywords: Indigenous communities, spatial information, cultural memory,evidence, cartography, Cartesian, intergenerational memories

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Date posted: January 12, 2014  

Suggested Citation

Hershey, Robert and McCormack, Jennifer and Newell, Gillian E., Mapping Intergenerational Memories (Part I): Proving the Contemporary Truth of the Indigenous Past (January 10, 2014). Arizona Legal Studies Discussion Paper No. 14-01. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2377486 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2377486

Contact Information

Robert Hershey (Contact Author)
University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law ( email )
P.O. Box 210176
Tucson, AZ 85721-0176
United States
Jennifer McCormack
University of Arizona - Department of Geography and Regional Development ( email )
Tucson, AZ 85721
United States
Gillian E. Newell
Independent ( email )
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