Sample Cultural and Ethnic Studies Essay on Decolonization


Decolonization is the act of withdrawing power and influence on people or countries. This is the opposite of colonization. The freedom accorded to the colonized helps people regulate themselves while at the same time having the liberty to act and move about freely. Colonization inputs certain systems that are oppressive in nature. These systems are ascribed in the community hence the change process presents a challenge to judicial and legal bodies that deals with the decolonization issues. In the Native American, women and children were the main victims of violence. This infers that most violent cases were not reported by the society to government judicial bodies hence solved in an informal manner. One of the offenses that was widely and still remain widely undisclosed by Native American community is sexual violence against women.

Despite having good laws that caters for the needs and protect women from sexual harassments, the community still handles the issue in tribal justice system. Given the nature and seriousness of the matter, there is increased demand to transfer these cases to informal tribal judicial systems governed by the community laws. This will offer justice to the victims while according the right punishment to the offender. This is because of the fact that federal laws fall short of incorporating or representing native women extensively. Therefore, this essay deals with the decolonization of Native Americans. Specifically, the focus is laid on the laws, federal and tribal justice system and community freedom.


From the context of historical violence against women, the judicial process has been pegged on racial justice. This is where the communities especially the immigrants living in America were inadequately represented in the judicial process. The laws only protected the white women hence leaving other societies out. This is discrimination of the highest order and needs to be dealt with immediately by devolving these systems. However, giving the mandate to the tribal justice system reduces efficiency of the entire system. The reason behind this is that these institutions are underfunded and unmanageable. In addition, the decision reached at may favor the offender hence making it unfavorable (Jacob 60). The only means to avert the situation is to empower tribal settings through training and funding these judicial systems.

According to Jacobs, the judicial process can be facilitated by reducing the tension prevalent in the community about reclaiming the traditional cultural behaviors and practices by native communities. Societies shifts from victimhood to self–determination, cultural revitalization, and resilience.

She found out that:

Yakama Rising makes a unique contribution to Native/Ethnic Studies, American History, Anthropology, and applied scholarship; it is neither a personal platform for polemics and exploration of heritage nor is it a disconnected, naïve analysis of people and their practices. It is an intense and robust examination of decolonization, tradition, and survival (Jacob 70).

In order to cover all communities, the inclusion of various tribal and cultural groups is paramount. Major and minor cases will be dealt with at grassroots level thus ensuring that no stone is left unturned. The end result would be increased efficiency and reduced rape cases amongst different social settings and groups. On the other hand, government will have reduced overcrowding in judicial system, which is sometime, unlimited in terms of conducting good investigations into sexual matters.

Community Freedom

The revitalization process is not an easy way of changing cultural practices hence not a walk in the park. Indians and other communities living in America have adopted this kind of practices. However, United States government have expressed displeasure against the move stating that its judicial process is capable of executing and dispensing justice to sexual victims.

Sarah states that:

Sexual assaults on Indian reservations falls under the auspices of the federal government. Unlike most rapes in the united states which are prosecuted by the state court systems, rape of native women and Indian reservations falls within the purview of the U.S Attorney’s Office throughout the nation. The system designed to address criminal justice and public safety in India country simply does not work (Sarah Deer 150).

            Community freedom is crucial in coming up with a democratic society. The Agro-American jurisprudence is not comprehensive enough to address and cover sexual assaults especially for the native women. This model has some disadvantages culminating from government interference. The first disadvantage is about dominance of federal laws. The victim is not given a chance to express her desires and voice.  This denies the victim justice that would otherwise help settle her minds and souls due to satisfaction. Moreover, the customs and oral laws that exist in different cultures are not included into this formal process. The traditional practices and beliefs were and still overlooked by the formal system. It therefore insinuates that the system fails to make the best out of a rape case presented upon its jurisprudence. The expedition of justice remains a moral question amongst both parties in a case.  Lastly, women in the traditional setting were considered to be the property of men. This marginalization of native women limits the application of federal laws.  In dealing with a rape case, the violence may be considered to be an infringement of laws or physical assaults hence reducing intensity of system (Sarah Deer 150).


            In conclusion, the pursuit of justice by women is well taken care of by empowering tribal system.  The major reason for this is the diverse nature of traditional and social setup. The overreliance on incarceration as reaction to violent crimes leads to denied justice.  From time immemorial, formalized or colonized system of government applicable in America judicial system leads to discriminatory acts in judicial administration. Due to the increased number of sexual harassment cases in native societies, the judicial system is reconsidering revitalizing its operation to tribal systems. This will have an inverse relationship to the freedom and rights of the native women.

            Customizing these systems to suite the individual needs of a community leads to improved system delivery. The advantage of this system is peace building amongst members or parties involved in a case. They will be given enough time to air out their grievances and provide the mode of compensation. The other party responds by making an apology to the offended party as well as the community while offering compensation. The community elders who make consideration for the extent of damage caused determines the compensation.  After the process, the offender is accepted back to the community hence able to associate with members. The offended is satisfied by the decision reached at by elders. There are no reservations made in dispelling justice leading to satisfaction.

            My recommendation is that rape cases should be devolved to the community level. This is a positive move towards a united society. Having a formalized society all through, discriminate against minority groups thus need for change.

Works Cited

Jacob, Michelle M. Yakama Rising: Indigenous Cultural Revitalization, Activism, and Healing. Tucson: The U of Arizona P, 2013. Print.

Sarah Deer. “Decolonizing Rape Law: A Native Feminist Synthesis of Safety and Sovereignty.”Wicazo Sa Review 24.2 (2009): 149-167. Print.