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“It is a gift from the Creator to keep us in harmony:” Original (vs. Alternative) Dispute Resolution on the Navajo Nation.

Meyer, Jon'a F
June 4, 2015

Source: (2002) International Journal of Public Administration. 25(11): 1379-1401.

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) has gained considerable appeal as a method for reducing both the financial and emotional costs of litigation. At the same time, interest in traditional tribal justice systems has risen. Meyer states that such systems tend to focus on restorative justice and various forms of mediation. In this context, Meyer discusses original dispute resolution (ODR) among Native Americans, particularly the Navajo Nation. The Navajo Nation has a peacemaking program for both civil and criminal cases. Hence, Meyer reviews the history of criminal justice in the West, explores ODR in terms of native justice before 1883; native justice between 1883 and 1980 (during which time traditional forms of adjudication were pushed aside by Euro-American criminal justice and penology); and Native American nations’ return to traditional roots for their criminal justice systems. On this basis, Meyer examines the Navajo ceremony of making peace, and draws out lessons for ADR from ODR.


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