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Contemplating Aboriginal Reality in the Current Justice System: An Introduction.

Guiboche, Sonya
June 4, 2015

Source: (2000) Edmonton, Alberta, Canada: University of Alberta, Canadian Forum on Civil Justice. Downloaded 31 October 2005.

My initial reaction to this conflict was to simply solve it. Upon further reflection and research into the methods and
dynamics of conflict resolution, I quickly determined that the solution was not simply a matter of selecting an academic
model of conflict resolution and incorporating my limited understanding of the facts into that model. I decided that an
appropriate approach to understanding and resolving this conflict could only be determined through a diagnosis of the
My goal is to introduce a general framework of conflict resolution from which to understand and address this protracted
social conflict. This framework is directed to those persons who are unfamiliar with conflict resolution and unacquainted
with the longstanding issue involving Aboriginal people and the justice system. My analysis demonstrates that every
aspect of conflict resolution is influenced by culture including the foundations of the conflict, the identity of the parties,
identification and articulation of the issues, who should intervene, what processes will be used, and what results are
desirable. Part I of this case study will introduce the historical basis of the current crisis where Aboriginal people are requesting
fundamental transformation to the criminal justice system. The historical relationship between Aboriginal and non-
Aboriginal cultures frames the basis for numerous reports and commissions that identify the need to modify the current
justice system to acknowledge the unique cultural interests of Aboriginal communities. Part II will discuss the
importance of issue identification and will identify the parties to this conflict. This section will explore the underlying interests of the primary parties from a procedural, psychological, and substantive perspective and will emphasize the
relevance of acknowledging and reconciling diverse cultural approaches to resolving conflicts. Part III will focus on a
variety of solutions based on satisfying the underlying interests of the primary parties to resolve the more specific issue
of over-incarceration of Aboriginal peoples (including mention of surrounding debates). Given the cultural variation of
Aboriginal communities, I make no claim to be speaking for all Aboriginal people. The following commentary is
predicated on my personal experience of being an Aboriginal female, my interpretation of the teachings of many
Metis/First Nations Elders’, and my independent study of conflict resolution. (excerpt)


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