Source: (1998) Solicitor General, Canada

Aboriginal communities have been at the forefront of the restorative justice movement for several reasons. First, there has been a serious failure of the conventional justice system in Aboriginal communities. While Aboriginal offenders are over-represented in the system, Aboriginal people play only a small role in running it. Many Aboriginal people feel that the justice system has been imposed on their communities and does not reflect their needs, their values, or their traditions. Second, traditional Aboriginal justice practices have generally taken a holistic approach emphasizing healing and the importance of community involvement in the justice process. Many of the features of restorative justice have deep cultural roots in Aboriginal communities. The community corrections movement is a means of returning responsibility for justice to these communities. Third, many Aboriginal leaders have recognized that restorative justice practices can be a means of rebuilding their communities. Fourth, the small size of many Aboriginal communities means that treatment can be applied within the context of the whole community. It is far easier to take a holistic approach to healing in a small, rural community where the behaviour of offenders can be closely monitored and where the different institutions that touch an individual's life can work closely together. Finally, restorative justice initiatives have been seen as a step toward Aboriginal self-government, as it is a way for communities to begin to regain control over the justice system.