Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version



Great Plains Research Vol. 20 No. 2, 2010


Copyright © 2010 by the Center for Great Plains Studies. University of Nebraska-Lincoln


The issues surrounding Native American communities and crime are addressed in the 14 essays in this volume. The book’s underlying premise is that “because of the tragic consequences of colonialism, Native American communities and organizations need more control over their own destinies and need more resources to do so; they need to be able to determine for themselves how to best provide services to their Native American members and clients.” Readers are likely to agree that Native Americans need more control over criminal justice issues. The book’s contribution is to show different ways tribes can undertake such control. The essays fall generally into four categories: crimes and crime rates; law and jurisdiction; policing; and courts and corrections. The reader is given both a historical overview of Native American justice and an up-to-date view of Native American interaction with criminal justice systems—those of the dominant society and the tribe. The introductory essay provides an overview of Native American involvement in criminal justice systems and addresses the difficulty in discussing Native Americans as a single entity. Its author states clearly, however, that generalizations need to be used to familiarize readers with the book’s complex topics.