Source: (2004) Presentation for the International Society for the Reform of Criminal Law, Montreal, Canada, August. Downloaded 2 February 2005.

For almost a century, Canadian aboriginal children were taken to residential schools as part of a social program of assimilation. Canada – and in particular its justice system - is witnessing the implications of generations of politically created orphans. In an attempt to reclaim identity and culture, First Nations people are turning to traditional practices to rebuild community. Their reliance on the concept of restorative justice is proving to be both healing and progressive, and has had reformatory success where the traditional justice system has failed. Restorative justice is frequently understood within the narrow context of criminal justice diversion, but it holds a much deeper meaning when viewed beyond this disciplinary continuum. It is a philosophy about building peaceful communities and interactions in daily relationships. It is about healing, learning and citizenship. Social reformists are beginning to recognize its potential for giving shape to postmodern correctional dilemmas and resolving competing tensions in social theories and practices, and for providing a context for connection in a global community. (excerpt)

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