Jurisdictions of significance

Narrating time‐space in a Hopi‐US tribal consultation

by JUSTIN B. RICHLAND

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In 2013, Hopi Tribal representatives met US Forest Service officials to consult on the significance of archaeological sites in the Tonto National Forest. The meeting exemplified the “meaningful tribal consultation” process that federal law requires US agencies to undertake with Native nations. Disagreement persists about the efficacy of such consultations and about why indigenous actors continue to participate in them. In the 2013 consultations, Hopi officials’ contributions shape the interaction into a narrative exercise of juris‐diction, the enactment of normative authority through language. In this way, consultation participants implicitly negotiate which norms—those of Hopi tradition or Anglo‐American law—should govern how the significance of the archaeological sites in question are legally determined.

A Hopi archaeological site in the Tonto National Forest, 2015. The site was approved for sale by the US Forest Service.
A Hopi archaeological site in the Tonto National Forest, 2015. The site was approved for sale by the US Forest Service. (Reproduced by permission from Peter Aleshire, “Sale Gets Go‐Ahead,” Payson Roundup, August 28, 2015)