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“Hozho Nahasdlii” — We are now in Good Relations: Navajo Restorative Justice.

Yazzie, Robert
June 4, 2015

Source: (1996) St. Thomas Law Review. 9:117-124.

Having illustrated the American adjudication in Western-style police model of justice, this essay will focus on Navajo justice concepts. It will show why, aside from the breakdown of police and social-work models within the Western-styled justice system, many Navajos prefer their traditional system of justice. As will be shown, the Navajo system of justice is based upon discussion, consensus, relative need, and healing. It is ‘restorative justice,’ which puts people in good relations with each other, and in continuing relationships. The Navajo system is ‘horizontal’ or egalitarian law. It is illustrated as a circle where everyone is equal. In contrast, the American system has hierarchies of power and authority in a triangle or pyramid where the weak are at the bottom and the power elite are at the top. (excerpt)


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