This introductory chapter begins by describing events in 1855 that led to the execution of Chief Leschi, a Nisqually Indian leader, for murder. It then details the convening of the Washington State Historical Court of Inquiry and Justice in December 2004, which conducted a review of Leschi's case to decide not only what happened in the 1850s but also what they should do about what happened. The chapter then sets out the book's purpose, which is to examine the epistemologies of justice, memory, and history at play in the Historical Court. The aim is to deconstruct the Historical Court as an exercise of assimilating different interpretations of the past into a single historical “truth” and definition of justice. An overview of the subsequent chapters is also presented.
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