Justice as Healing: Indigenous Ways

Aug 15th, 2006 | By | Category: 18-1: The Winding Road to Student Success, Media Reviews

Living Justice Press (2005) – 459 pages
ISBN 0-9721886-1-4, Paperback, $25.00

Review by Michael Thompson

This unique collection is subtitled “Writings on Community Peacemaking and Restorative Justice from the Native Law Centre,” located at the University of Saskatchewan. The articles, primarily by indigenous voices, were originally published in the law center’s newsletter, 1995-2004. The contributors include traditional elders, educators, lawyers, judges, elected officials, community activists, and international consultants.

Most address the aboriginal concept of “restorative justice” or “justice as healing,” which is seen generally in opposition to Eurocentric notions of justice involving punishment, deterrence, retribution, and violence. Many writers recount attempts by Native communities to indigenize the judicial process, especially with “healing circles” and similar alternatives.

Issues addressed include addiction and gangs as well as domestic violence. In her foreword, Elizabeth Cook-Lynn says this book “shows us that our responsibilities are not about control and supremacy but, rather, how to value our lives and make them whole.”

This book is recommended for a tribal college library.

Michael Thompson, Muskogee Creek, is an English instructor and writer with published work in several journals. He resides in Farmington, NM.

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