Source: (2008) LawNow. 33(2):35-39.

Over the last several decades, the Canadian criminal justice system has been encouraged to implement policies and programs that better correspond with the ideals and values of Aboriginal justice. Numerous commissions and task forces have pointed to the unequal treatment of indigenous peoples by police, courts, and corrections. Innovative approaches to remedying the limitations of the justice system's response are varied. They include the creation of Aboriginal court worker positions, the implementation of restorative justice measures, Aboriginal policing programs, and the development of correctional programming that seeks to be culturally appropriate. While often acclaimed, these initiatives have not stemmed the over-representation of Aboriginal peoples in Canadian prisons and they have failed to promote the rehabilitation and restoration required. As a result, governments have intensified their efforts to develop programs within all facets of the justice system. The establishment of specialized courts dedicated to serving Aboriginal clients is a recent initiative. These courts work to ensure that the charges against Aboriginal accused are heard in a forum where cultural sensitivity and respect are incorporated into the criminal justice process. Four Canadian provinces--Alberta, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, and Ontario--have established Aboriginal courts. Operating since 2000, the courts have nearly a decade of experience to share with other regions in Canada. To date, there has been limited consideration of the Aboriginal court model in the Atlantic region. I will examine the arguments for an Aboriginal court for the Province of New Brunswick (excerpt)