Naadamaagewin: Indigenous Restorative Justice

  • Author / Creator
    Mandamin, Leonard S
  • Indigenous restorative justice has emerged in response to the failure of the criminal justice system to engender peace and security in Indigenous communities in Canada. The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples’ principal finding for this failure of the Canadian criminal justice system was the fundamentally differing world views of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people on the substantive content of justice and the process of achieving justice. Unpacking the RCAP conclusion begins with a brief review of the colonial imposition of criminal justice on Indigenous people followed by examination of differences between retributive justice, restorative justice, and Indigenous justice. After consideration of Indigenous justice reports, case law and academic literature, a view of Indigenous restorative justice is advanced by drawing from three Alberta Indigenous justice initiatives. Four basic elements making up Indigenous restorative justice are identified: first, the initiative is devised and delivered by the Indigenous community; second, it is based on the culture and experience of the Indigenous community; third, it focusses on Indigenous individuals whose social misconduct brings them before the criminal justice system; and fourth, it addresses the larger issue of social disorder in Indigenous communities as well as the over-incarceration of Indigenous offenders. The teachings of Indigenous Elders involved or associated with Indigenous restorative justice speak of the values that lie behind Indigenous restorative justice: being personally accountable, assisting others in need, and valuing good relationships. These values can be shown to have been in existence both historically and in present-day, values such as in the Anishinaabe Indigenous justice concepts known as the Seven Sacred Teachings. Indigenous Restorative Justice may be characterized as ‘Naadamaagewin’, that is, helping others. Challenges arising with the interaction of Indigenous restorative justice and the criminal justice system as well as internal challenges in advancing Indigenous restorative justice are also discussed. Finally, a way forward, as drawn from Indigenous justice reports over the years, is explored.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2021
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.