Chicago Journal of International Law


Indigenous societies have received increasing attention in recent years. Notably, scholars and the international law community have gradually, but increasingly, recognized indigenous groups' autonomy in past decades. Against this backdrop, indigenous groups have largely continued to maintain their own distinct customs and practices, including their own legal systems. These groups, though, are also necessarily members of states with their own official legal systems. And while the systems often coexist without issue, there are numerous instances of indigenous legal systems directly conflicting with their official state counterparts'. This Comment addresses these discrepancies. After noting the history of indigenous treatment in international law and the system of legal pluralism, this Comment proposes a solution to inconsistent indigenous and state legal systems. It argues that barring instances of widely recognized international human rights violations, indigenous groups should be free to develop and implement their own individual legal systems.