Matt Arbaugh

Document Type



Native Americans have their own unique traditional method of resolving disputes. Their processes, called peacemaking by some tribes, place the emphasis not on the guilt of the wrongdoer, but on restoring relationships and finding a solution that is amenable to all involved. This emphasis on saving the relationship has many similarities to current practices of mediation. Among the similar goals between mediation and peacemaking are the use of ADR allows both sides to reach a better conclusion and the desire to spend less money and to satisfy more people. However, this approach has critics who see it as another attempt to force "Anglo culture" on tribal communities. Other critics feel this approach cannot work because of unequal bargaining power between the two parties and the fact that tribes are forced to win a court battle before they can come to the mediation or negotiation tables. Part II of this paper examines the resource disputes that have arisen between tribes and the government in recent years. Part III looks at the unique problems of Indian gaming. Part IV explores tribal methods of dispute resolution and its possible impact on disputes over resources and gaming. Part V illustrates the practical application of ADR to tribal disputes and possible problems that can result thereby preventing success. Part VI looks at a recent settlement reached in Washington State and compares that process to the theoretical application of ADR to similar disputes. Part VII concludes, arguing that ADR, being more analogous to traditional tribal practices, provides a better way to resolve these disputes than litigation.