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Restorative Justice in the Arctic: Indigenous Knowledge for Healing Communities



Indigenous people are overrepresented in the justice systems in both Alaska and Canada, especially when looking at incarceration rates (Alaska Department of Corrections, 2018; Canada Department of Justice Research and Statistics Division, 2019). Mainstream justice systems are focusing on punitive measures that do not reflect Indigenous Knowledge and Indigenous approaches to restorative justice and healing (Pranis, Stuart, & Wedge, 2003). In this short paper, we aim to generate further understanding of how Indigenous knowledge is significant and related to Indigenous restorative justice as a means to consider how we might resolve various forms of disputes, meet the needs of Indigenous peoples and communities, and rethink Alaska and Canada’s justice systems. This paper considers how we might engage in relearning by making more room for the holistic healing found within Indigenous models of restorative justice. We hope our paper provides a general introduction to the importance of Indigenous knowledge for people who work with Indigenous clients in the United States (U.S.) and Canadian Arctic justice systems. Our paper also serves to inform other Indigneous people interested in developing restorative justice practices in their communities of what is being done in some Canadaian and U.S. Arctic communities.
Restorative Justice in
the Arctic: Indigenous
Knowledge for Healing
Heather Sauyaq Jean Gordon
& Ranjan
Indigenous people are overrepresented
in the justice systems in both Alaska and
Canada, especially when looking at
incarceration rates (Alaska Department
of Corrections, 2018; Canada
Department of Justice Research and
Statistics Division, 2019). Mainstream
justice systems are focusing on punitive
measures that do not reflect Indigenous
Knowledge and Indigenous approaches
to restorative justice and healing (Pranis,
Stuart, & Wedge, 2003). In this short
paper, we aim to generate further
understanding of how Indigenous
knowledge is significant and related to
Indigenous restorative justice as a means
to consider how we might resolve
various forms of disputes, meet the
needs of Indigenous peoples and
communities, and rethink Alaska and
Canada’s justice systems. This paper
The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the view of the
Administration of Native Americans, The Administration for Children and Families, the Department
of Health and Human Services, or the United States government.
∗∗ Administration for Native Americans, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department
of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C., USA
∗∗∗ Canada Research Chair-II in Community Disaster Research at Indigenous Studies at the
Department of Humanities at Mount Royal University, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
considers how we might engage in
relearning by making more room for the
holistic healing found within Indigenous
models of restorative justice. We hope
our paper provides a general
introduction to the importance of
Indigenous knowledge for people who
work with Indigenous clients in the
United States (U.S.) and Canadian Arctic
justice systems. Our paper also serves to
inform other Indigenous people
interested in developing restorative
justice practices in their communities of
what is being done in some Canadian
and U.S. Arctic communities.
Turning to Indigenous Knowledge for
Justice and Healing: Restorative
Indigenous knowledge is dynamic,
holistic, intergenerational, linked to
experience on traditional lands and the
integrity of the knowledge depends on
maintaining the “integrity of the land
itself.” (Battiste 2005, p.8). Indigenous
people have a deep connection between
their traditional knowledge and their
restorative justice systems such as the
peacemaking circles. In restorative
justice, many Indigenous people rely on
their sustainable Indigenous Knowledge
to resolve disputes within their
communities (Lange, & Popova, 2011;
Loukacheva, 2012). Indigenous
knowledge, cultural practices, and
traditional restorative justice systems are
interconnected to develop social control
to maintain harmony in the community,
such harmony being essential to
community survival. Indigenous people
in North American societies were and
are dynamic cultures that constantly
adapt(ed) to meet their changing
circumstances and address their needs.
Indigenous restorative justice is
typically a healing process based on
Indigenous dispute resolution
traditions. There is a substantial body of
literature citing the positive impact of
Indigenous knowledge-based
restorative justice systems. In these
systems, parental education was crucial
to teaching and cultivating every child a
sense of duty and responsibility to
maintain harmony (Dickson-Gilmore &
La Prairie, 2007; Melton, 2005). Hewitt’s
(2014) study focused on Indigenous
knowledge and laws suggesting that
Indigenous restorative justice is a means
to consider how we might better resolve
various forms of disputes and reinvent
versus revise Canada’s criminal justice
system. Indigenous people represent
Indigenous spirituality, values, beliefs,
and traditions in inmate programming
facilitates healing for the Indigenous
communities (Correctional Services
Canada, 2015).
Indigenous restorative justice is a
traditional knowledge-based practice.
This process addresses crime in a way
that situates it as an act against an
individual and community, not an act
against a state and its laws (Dickson-
Gilmore & La Prairie, 2007; Melton,
2005). In many cases, Indigenous
restorative justice is based on a holistic
philosophy. The unwritten customary
laws and traditions guide these systems
and practices that are learned primarily
by example and through the oral
teachings of Indigenous Elders (Melton,
2005). It is a healing process that
acknowledges that crime does damage
but posits that judicial systems should be
a vehicle for healing, not for
punishment. This justice method
attempts to understand the
circumstances that led to crime
occurring in the first place to identify
and address the cause and impacts
accurately. The Indigenous restorative
knowledge-based justice’s goal becomes
identifying a healing methodology for
the victim, offender, and community
that helps reduce recidivism and
acknowledges the impact of the crime on
the individuals and communities
affected (Correctional Services Canada,
Using Indigenous Knowledge for
Restorative Justice
Healing is the center of the Indigenous
Knowledge-based restorative justice
system. For example, a study (Justice
Education Society, 2016) suggests that if
a healing circle is used as the method for
justice, it must include the offender,
Elders, community members, and the
victim if he or she has agreed to
participate. In this healing process, all
parties have the opportunity to discuss
the crime and how it has affected the
victim and the community. Besides, the
healing focuses on the underlying causes
of the offence. Together the group will
suggest reconciliatory action for the
offender. In this Indigenous Knowledge-
based justice system, victims report
more satisfaction than traditional justice
procedures (Justice Education Society,
2016). Thus, restorative justice practice
becomes an effort to institutionalize a
positive problem-solving methodology
around a historically culturally
devastating system for both victim and
offender (Hansen, 2009; Hansen et al.,
2012; Tribal Law and Policy Institute,
In the Indigenous Knowledge-based
restorative justice systems, Indigenous
Elders, leaders, and medicine-men play
significant roles (Hansen, 2009; Hansen
et al., 2012). For instance, Elders often
take offenders out into the bush to hunt,
trap and live off the land in traditional
ways. This is intended to reclaim the
offender to their traditional roots,
increase attachment to the land, and
improve traditional skills. Studies
(Borrows, 2002; Mills, 2016) suggest that
Indigenous Knowledge, values,
protocols, and traditions, preserved in
the wisdom of Elders and communities’
practices, need to be considered as a
significant part of restorative justice.
Therefore, many Indigenous people
traditionally believe that restorative
justice is a way of life and a part of the
life process.
Restorative Justice in the Arctic:
In Canada, there is a multitude of
restorative justice practices taking place
due to first Indigenous movements to
address healing and traditional forms of
justice and followed by the 1996
amendment to the Canadian Criminal
Code that encouraged community-
based restorative elements (Barnes, 2013;
McCormick, 2001; Canadian Resource
Centre for Victims of Crime, 2011). In
Canada, some forms of restorative
justice are Indigenous, while others are
faith- or community-based, Indigenous
practices include Peacemaking Circles
(Indigenous), Healing Circles
(Indigenous), Sentencing Circles (not
always Indigenous), and Aboriginal
Courts (also known as First Nations
Courts or Indigenous Courts)
(Indigenous) (Canadian Resource
Centre for Victims of Crime, 2011;
Johnson, 2014; Mehl-Madrona, 2014).
Started in 1991, the Indigenous Justice
Program (IJP), formerly known as the
Aboriginal Justice Strategy, supports
Canadian Indigenous restorative justice
programs by helping to fund over 100
restorative justice programs serving
over 400 communities (Fleming, 2015).
Indigenous restorative justice resolves
family conflicts, builds community
capacity, enforces Indigenous laws, and
develops sentencing plans. Participants
in IJP funded restorative justice
programs have lower recidivism rates
than those involved in the mainstream
Canadian justice system and are just
over half as likely to re-offend (Canada
Department of Justice Evaluation
Division, 2016). We will now look at
examples of Indigenous restorative
justice in Canada, Circle Healing in the
Hollow Water First Nations Community
in Manitoba and the Tsuu T’ina First
Nation Court in Alberta.
Healing Circles
The Hollow Water First Nations
Community developed the Hollow
Water First Nations Community Holistic
Circle Healing (CHCH) in 1986 in the
Hollow Water Ojibwa community of the
Anishinaabe people in Manitoba,
Canada in response to the high rates of
alcohol abuse that was linked to incest
and sexual assault taking place in the
community (Barnes, 2013; Bushie,
1997a). Incest was not an accepted norm
by the Ojibwa people and it was a taboo
to have incestual relations (Sivell-Ferri,
1997a). The community came together
and began to talk about the issues they
were having as more and more people
came forward disclosing what had
happened to them (Bushie, 1997a). The
community developed a thirteen-step
CHCH process that begins with
disclosure and continues through
confronting the victimizer, supporting
the family, holding circles with the
victimizer, holding separate circles with
the victim, gradually bringing in the
family to the victim’s circle, holding a
sentencing circle, regularly reviewing
sentencing, and ultimately ending the
process with a cleansing ceremony
(Sivell-Ferri, 1997b). The CHCH method
is founded on seven Ojibwe teachings of
“honesty, love, courage, truth, wisdom,
humility, and respect” (Sivell-Ferri,
For an offender to partake in the CHCH
they have to first plead guilty and admit
to the offence and then agree to partake
in the circles instead of being sentenced
by a judge (Sivell-Ferri, 1997b). If they do
this, then they are supported through the
Circle Healing and “non-blaming
approach.” The first circle is with the
offender and their family, the offender
taking responsibility for their actions
and meeting with their family to admit
what they have done. The second circle
is for the victim and their family to
discuss what has happened. Eventually,
the offender, victim, and their families
join one circle and the victim explains to
the offender how they were affected in
order to heal. In the final circle, the
sentencing circle, the two families,
victim, and offender, are joined by
community members; the offender tells
the community what they have done,
and the community develops sentencing
recommendations for the judge and
these proceedings are reported to the
court (Bushie, 1997b). This process has
greatly reduced recidivism rates
compared to mainstream justice
practices with a recidivism rate of only 2
percent compared to the mainstream
recidivism rate for sex offenders being 13
percent (Native Counseling Services of
Alberta, 2001).
Aboriginal Courts
Aboriginal Courts began in Canada with
the Tsuu T’ina Peacemaker Court in
Alberta in 2000 (Whonnock, 2008). One
of the reasons the courts were created
includes addressing the results of the
Royal Commission on Aboriginal
peoples that demonstrated that the
current Canadian mainstream justice
system was not working for the
Aboriginal peoples of Canada as
evidenced by their overrepresentation in
the system and the lack of Aboriginal
values, cultures, and beliefs in the
mainstream Canadian justice system
(Chartrand, 1995). A second reason for
the courts was given by the Indigenous
Bar Association which said that they
needed the Aboriginal courts due to a
history of Indigenous nations in Canada
and their cultural method of oral history
being excluded from mainstream justice
(Whonnock, 2008). The Aboriginal
courts utilize Aboriginal methods of
dispute resolution that respect and
reflect the local Aboriginal culture of the
area. By focusing on restorative justice
instead of punitive measures, they
emphasize rehabilitating instead of
imprisoning Indigenous people
(Johnson, 2014). Offenders must be
willing to plead guilty and admit their
offence to begin the healing restorative
The Tsuu T’ina First Nation are Dene
and live outside Calgary, Alberta
(Whonnock, 2008). They began planning
an alternative justice system in 1996,
reviewing other peacemaking dispute
resolution processes such as the
Peacemaking Circle used by another
Dene people, the Navajo in the U.S.
(Bryant, 2002). They developed a Court
Proposal in 1998, and the Tsuu T’ina
Peacemaker Court was started on the
Reserve in 2000 (Bryant, 2002; Wang,
2019). It works to combine Alberta
Provincial Court and Peacemaker
processes where the Crown Prosecutor
and Peacemakers are both present in the
courtroom and the judge ultimately
decides if a case will be dealt with in the
court or go to a peacemaking circle. The
Judge is a First Nations Bar member, and
the court has jurisdiction over youth,
criminal, and bylaw offences committed
on the Reserve (Wang, 2019). The goal of
the court is to restore peace between the
victim, offender, and community
utilizing the Tsuu T’ina culture and
traditional values (Whonnock, 2008).
Not only do the proceedings of the court
reflect the local culture through the
peacemaking process and smudging
with sweetgrass or sage, but the court
itself does as well as the courtroom is
circular shaped to reflect a beaver den as
the totem of the Tsuu T’ina is the beaver
(Wang, 2019). The chairs and tables of
the court are also in a circle so that all
participants including the judge, Elders,
offender, victims, and family members
face each other in a circle which is very
unlike a conventional courtroom which
elevates the judges who can appear
intimidating. After only its first year in
operation, the court demonstrated lower
recidivism rates than the mainstream
system (Bryant, 2002).
In Alaska, tribes are drawing on their
Indigenous Knowledge to heal their
people through Tribal Healing to
Wellness Courts and Circle
Peacemaking. Some tribes have already
established self-funded restorative
justice practices like the Kenaitze Indian
Tribe who operates a Healing to
Wellness Court for adults, the Henu
Community Wellness Court, and a
Peacemaking Circle, the Ts’iłq’u Circle
(Kenaitze Indian Tribe, 2020a; Kenaitze
Indian Tribe, 2020b). Other tribes are
applying for funding to start restorative
justice practices of their own such as the
Outagamie Native Council in Bethel,
Alaska through funding from the Alaska
Office of Juvenile Justice and
Delinquency Prevention which provides
funding for juvenile Healing to Wellness
Courts through the federal Office of
Juvenile Justice and Delinquency
Prevention (The Resource Basket, 2020).
These courts can receive free technical
assistance and training through the
Tribal Law and Policy Institute or the
Rural Community Action Program
Alaska Native Youth Training and
Technical Assistance Project (Tribal Law
and Policy Institute, 2015; The Resource
Basket, 2020). The goal of both the
Healing to Wellness Courts and Circle
Peacemaking programs in Alaska is to
utilize culture to heal the offenders and
those harmed by restoring relationships,
healing the community, and getting
people the help they need through
substance abuse treatment and
counselling instead of incarcerating
Tribal Healing to Wellness Courts
Tribal Healing to Wellness Courts are
the tribal adaptations of the drug courts
that were started in the U.S. in the 1980s
(Tribal Law and Policy Institute, 2014).
As alcoholism was often tied to crime
and incarceration in Indigenous
communities in the U.S., tribes sought
ways to address the alcoholism and get
people treatment to prevent further
crime in the community (Feldstein,
Venner, & May 2006; Tribal Law and
Policy Institute, 2014). In 1997, the U.S.
Department of Justice through its Drug
Court Program Office developed a
program to assist Indigenous nations in
the U.S. to develop drug courts. These
courts specifically include Indigenous
culture through 1) developing a
community-healing approach that
addressed both physical and spiritual
healing of the participants and
community and 2) utilizing culture and
tradition in substance abuse and
rehabilitation treatment (U.S.
Department of Justice, 2003). A study
was done on the recidivism rates of drug
courts, not specific to Tribal Healing to
Wellness Courts, found that drug courts
are effective in reducing recidivism with
recidivism rates reducing from 50
percent to 38 percent with the effects
lasting even up to three years (Mitchell,
Wilson, Eggers, & MacKenzie, 2012).
These are promising results that
continue to inspire Tribes in Alaska to
develop Healing to Wellness Courts.
The Kenaitze Indian Tribe are Dene
people and they established and fund
the Henu Community Wellness Court in
Kenai, Alaska and started taking cases in
2017. Unlike traditional court systems
advocating punishment, the Henu
Court’s vision seeks to make the
community healthier through
transforming lives through their mission
of supporting “wellness and
rehabilitation for those in need through
a cooperative justice program to create a
safe and healthy community” (Kenaitze
Indian Tribe, 2020a). The court works
specifically with adult offenders
struggling with drugs and alcohol and
seeks to provide participants with
resources to heal and achieve sobriety
instead of sending them to jail. Along
with treating substance abuse issues, the
court seeks restorative components of
rebuilding relationships with family,
friends, and the community and
increasing self-sufficiency with the goals
of healing the offender to stop
recidivism. The program is guided by
the Kenaitze Traditional Value Wheel
which details the values in the Dena’ina
culture (Kenaitze Indian Tribe, n.d.). The
Henu Court seeks to help participants
change their lives and be on the “Yaghali
Tinitun” the Good Trail. The court
assists offenders in getting reestablished
into their communities through holding
them accountable for their offences,
providing peer support, offering
culturally relevant behavioral health
treatment at the Dena’ina Wellness
Center, and encouraging them to pursue
education and employment through
helping offenders develop a Life Change
Plan (Kenaitze Indian Tribe, 2016).
Circle Peacemaking
Peacemaking circles have a history
rooted in Indigenous communities
(Pranis, Stuart, & Wedge, 2003). As seen
in this paper, the ideas of meeting in a
circle and utilizing peacemakers is
prevalent in both Canada and Alaska
and is utilized as a way to promote
healing for the victim, offender, and
community instead of instituting
punishment. Circles are specific to the
community using them and reflect the
local culture and beliefs of the
Indigenous people engaging in the
practice. Peacemaking circles begin with
a prayer, utilize consensus, focus on
healing broken relationships instead of
broken laws, and work to reintegrate
and build trust instead of punishing,
resulting in apologies, restored
relationships, and healing consequences
such as going to a culture camp, doing
community service with an Elder, or
beginning treatment for substance abuse
(Costello, 1999; Pranis, Stuart, & Wedge,
2003). Peacemaking circles can handle
both juvenile and adult cases, working to
resolve issues around drugs and alcohol,
property damage, shoplifting, truancy,
child support and custody, and domestic
issues (Costello, 1999; Mirsky, 2004).
Peacemaking circles can be as small as
six people and as large as sixty,
including the victim, offender, and both
of their families, peacemakers, and other
community members such as police,
counsellors, or others interested
(Costello, 1999). Typically, the
peacemaking is not a neutral party
acting as a mediator, they often are
involved in the lives of the parties as
relatives or community Elders and are
chosen for their leadership, knowledge,
and teaching they can provide.
In Kake, Alaska, a T’lingit community,
the local tribe, the Organized Village of
Kake, funds and runs a Circle
Peacemaking program (Jarrett &
Hyslop, 2014). Circle Peacemaking is a
traditional method of dispute resolution
in the T’lingit culture, and it had fallen
out of practice in the community due to
mainstream culture introducing the
court system. As Kake is only accessible
by boat or plane, it was difficult to get
lawmakers to come to the community to
deal with local issues and the
community was having problems with
alcohol use and suicide in the 1980s and
90s. The community members decided
to address their own issues, and the
Circle Peacemaking program was
reintroduced in Kake after community
members met with T’lingit First Nations
community members from Carcross,
Yukon, Canada who utilized Circle
Peacemaking and learned from them
how to set up a program. The Circle
works with the Organized Village of
Kake tribal court, local police, and social
services workers to take referrals and
work on healing offenders instead of
prosecuting them (Rieger, 2001). The
Circle is open to all members of the
community and works with Natives and
non-Natives. One young community
member who went through the Circle for
minor consumption found a surprise in
how many people attended his circle,
and after everyone spoke he reflected on
that he had been feeling marginalized in
Kake and did not realize that there were
so many people caring about him. These
healing experiences have resulted in
reducing recidivism in Kake with a rate
of 28 percent compared to an Alaska
state-wide rate of 66 percent (Fortson &
Carbaugh, 2014).
If a community is interested in
developing restorative justice practices
based on Indigenous Knowledge, we
have several suggestions: involve local
stakeholders in all stages of
development, tailor the program to the
local community and its culture, learn
from what other Indigenous
communities are doing to help guide
program development, recognize
Indigenous self-determination and
sovereignty and the history of the
communities experiencing colonization,
develop a working agreement between
mainstream judicial systems and
Indigenous systems, access funding
required adequately support the
program, emphasize sustainability of the
program for long-term community
healing, see success as more than just
reduced recidivism but community
healing as well, and focus on having
community based restorative
“practices” instead of worrying about
what “justice” might mean (Jarrett &
Hyslop, 2014). Additionally, there is a
lack of evaluation research on restorative
justice practices, and we suggest
measuring the successes of restorative
justice in Indigenous communities and
ensuring there are resources necessary to
permanently institute the practices.
Indigenous knowledge-based
restorative justice programs are not only
community-initiated and bear little
resemblance to mainstream justice
systems, but also provide opportunities
on healing individuals and
communitiesincluding the underlying
harms of ongoing colonization. They
could provide an alternative pathway
for Indigenous people in the justice
system that could lead to healing instead
of incarceration and punishment.
Indigenous knowledge provides
valuable insight into how to better
understand and practice restorative
justice practices with Indigenous people
and the examples we provide from the
U.S. and Canadian Arctic demonstrate
what communities are doing and what
other communities could institute
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Cover Page
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For me, the meanings of research are relational accountabilities to reshape, rethink, relearn from, with, to, and by the communities. Research is not an event for me, but a lifelong learning, unlearn, and relearning ceremonies. Once you are reading my work, you are also becoming relationality responsible to you, your work, your research communities, and me. Please share your decolonizing work, help me to relearn from you, and celebrate our relationships.
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The current study reviews the comparative successes of two restorative justice programs in Alaska, namely, the Upper Tanana Wellness Program and the Circle Peacemaking Program in Kake, Alaska. In an analysis of the two case studies, the authors develop nine principles useful to those interested in developing restorative-justice programs. The authors recommend an Indigenous community-based approach consistent with practice in the field of Dispute Systems Design.
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We report on the incorporation of a North American aboriginal procedure called "the talking circle" into primary care in areas serving this population. Communication is regulated through the passing of a talking piece (an object of special meaning or symbolism to the circle facilitator, who is usually called the circle keeper). Twelve hundred people participated in talking circles in which 415 attended 4 sessions and completed pre- and postquestionnaires. Outcome measures included baseline and end Measure Your Medical Outcome Profile version 2 forms. Participation in at least 4 talking circles resulted in a statistically significant improvement in reported symptoms and overall quality of life (p < 0.001 and effect sizes ranging from 0.75 to 1.19). The talking circle is a useful tool to use with Native Americans. It may be useful as a means to reduce health care costs by providing other alternative settings to deal with stress-related and other life problems.
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This essay seeks to clarify the theoretical frameworks that have been developed to understand Indigenous knowledge, to provide some insight into the reasons for the tensions between Indigenous and Eurocentric ways of knowing, and to point out the challenges these conflicts bring to educational systems. It is part of a study that responds to the Government of Canada's working partnership with First Nations to improve the quality of Aboriginal life and education in Canada through research conducted with the Education Renewal Initiative.
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The objective of this study was to conduct a systematic search of the literature for studies that assess the effectiveness of post-booking and post-incarceration diversion programs in North America. The results of this review were then synthesized using methodology for evaluating the evidence of effectiveness. Forty-three articles were identified: 41 for the United States and two for Canada. Diversion programs exist at multiple levels within the criminal justice process, and likewise, have variations in their effectiveness for each of the desired outcomes evaluated, as well as in their breadth of research support. Diversion programs should be implemented as a system made up of various programs at all criminal justice levels.
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American Indian/Alaska Natives have high rates of alcohol-related arrests and are overrepresented in justice systems. To understand the relationship between alcohol dependence, treatment, and alcohol-related incarceration, this study queried American Indian/Alaska Natives currently in remission from alcohol dependence. Participants reported receiving 0 to 43 treatment experiences. Moreover, participants had a significantly greater number of alcohol-related incarcerations than all other treatments combined. These findings underline the importance of making alcohol treatment available within criminal justice settings.
What ultimately counts as law and as the legitimate processes of its generation, adjustment, and destruction are both empowered and constrained by the constitutional order from which they derive life. A constitutional framework, in turn, reflects unique understandings about what there is and how one can know: a lifeworld. Reflecting on his own experience, the author emphasizes how legal education harms when it fails to acknowledge and to begin to articulate the lifeworld beneath any system of law it aims to impart. There are serious questions to be taken up in considering whether we may move law between constitutional contexts without subjugating the law of one community to the lifeworld of another. The author asserts this is particularly important with respect to Canadian law schools’ recent interest in teaching Indigenous peoples’ own systems of law. He argues that Canadian (liberal) and Indigenous (what he calls “rooted”) constitutionalisms are not only different, but different in kind. As such, efforts to articulate Indigenous law within the forms of liberal constitutionalism ignore or trivialize the ongoing significance of Indigenous lifeworlds to governance of Indigenous lives today. Many Indigenous legal scholars are adverting to this tension, moving on from simply making space for Indigenous law in the academy to asking whether and how this may be done. The author briefly canvasses Indigenous theorists (students, professors, lawyers, and elders) whose works present Indigenous systems of law within their own lifeworlds. Tracking the lifeworld-law relationship, he proposes three reforms to legal education in Canada: (1) teach that all law is storied; (2) teach that Canadian constitutional law is a species of liberal constitutionalism; (3) require students to enrol in a prerequisite on an Indigenous people’s constitutional order before enrolling in a course on their law. By way of example, he concludes with the syllabus for an intensive course he designed and taught on Anishinaabe constitutionalism.
A frontier place, Canada's North is an interface in which competing educational, historical, and cultural paradigms collide, intersect, and coalesce. The unique nature of this Northern mosaic rests upon the shared experience of social disorientation and culture shock. A collection of fourteen timely essays that investigate the experience of Canadian culture above the 53rd Parallel, Horizons North is at once academic and personal, analytic and discursive - offering insights on the subject of cultural cringe and social transition to critics, scholars, students and any others interested in Aboriginal and Northern studies. The efficacy of Aboriginal systems of justice, challenges of pedagogy in the North, and problems of identity created by Canada's colonial past are just three of the important issues investigated in this volume.
PurposeThe objective of this research was to systematically review quasi-experimental and experimental evaluations of the effectiveness of drug courts in reducing offending.Methods Our search identified 154 independent evaluations: 92 evaluations of adult drug courts, 34 of juvenile drug courts, and 28 of DWI drug courts. The findings of these studies were synthesized using meta-analysis.ResultsThe vast majority of adult drug court evaluations, even the most rigorous evaluations, find that participants have lower recidivism than non-participants. The average effect of participation is analogous to a drop in recidivism from 50% to 38%; and, these effects last up to three years. Evaluations of DWI drug courts find effects similar in magnitude to those of adult drug courts, but the most rigorous evaluations do not uniformly find reductions in recidivism. Juvenile drug courts have substantially smaller effects on recidivism. Larger reductions in recidivism were found in adult drug courts that had high graduation rates, and those that accepted only non-violent offenders.Conclusions These findings support the effectiveness of adult drug courts in reducing recidivism. The evidence assessing DWI courts' effectiveness is very promising but more experimental evaluations are needed. Juvenile drug courts typically produce small reductions in recidivism.