Dibakonigowin: Indian Lawyer as Abductee

28 Pages Posted: 19 Oct 2005 Last revised: 26 Jan 2016

See all articles by Matthew L. M. Fletcher

Matthew L. M. Fletcher

Michigan State University - College of Law

Date Written: 2006


In this article, I utilize Native American literature combined with Indian law commentaries to analyze the impact of the return of American Indians trained as lawyers to tribal communities. I use the analogy of the Indian abductee in Native American literature. The Indian abductee, one who is abducted (or voluntarily leaves) a tribal community and eventually returns to the community with special or even supernatural gift, parallels the journey that many American Indians take while leaving their homes to attend college and then law school.

Indian lawyers returning to tribal communities face a strange contradiction. On one hand, tribal communities often have sent them out in order to become legal sovereignty warriors. But on the other, they sometimes face hostility from their own communities. Similarly, the Indian law scholars sometimes vilify Indian lawyers for strategic decisions that they perceive constitute a compromise of tribal sovereignty.

I hope to open up a debate about these issues. My thesis is that Indian legends and stories have predicted this reaction and may even provide an avenue for a resolution consistent with tribal customs and traditions. Finally, I strongly support the actions and experiences of Indian lawyers.

Suggested Citation

Fletcher, Matthew L. M., Dibakonigowin: Indian Lawyer as Abductee (2006). 31 Oklahoma City University Law Review 209 (2006). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=820365

Matthew L. M. Fletcher (Contact Author)

Michigan State University - College of Law ( email )

648 N. Shaw
East Lansing, MI 48824-1300
United States

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