Back to RJ Archive

Navajo Peacemaking and Intercultural Dispute Resolution.

Yazzie, Robert
June 4, 2015

Source: (2004) In Catherine Bell and David Kahane, eds, Intercultural Dispute Resolution in Aboriginal Contexts. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press. Pp. 107-115.

While it is possible that indigenous justice methods can be used elsewhere, it is important to understand their context and why they work. For example, Navajo justices have been attending restorative justice conferences and considering the relationship of our indigenous methods with that movement. At one conference held at the Eastern Mennonite University in Virginia, we discussed sulha, the traditional Palestinian method of dispute resolution. We spent a day and a half trying to figure out how to replicate traditional justice method such as sulha but did not get very far. Sulha is something like shuttle diplomacy, where the family members of an offender will approach the family members of an injured person to open negotiations. If and when a resolution is achieved, public ceremonies are held to celebrate the reconciliation. A room full of restorative justice professionals tried to identify the essentials of sulha for replication through an articulation of its principles. However, the attempt at translation simply was not successful, perhaps because of the problem of intercultural communication. We are at only beginning of a process to attempt to identify and explain how traditional justice works, whether it is traditional Navajo justice or Palestinian sulha. (excerpt)


AbstractCourtsNorth America and CaribbeanPoliceRJ in SchoolsStatutes and Legislation
Support the cause

We've Been Restoring Justice for More Than 40 Years

Your donation helps Prison Fellowship International repair the harm caused by crime by emphasizing accountability, forgiveness, and making amends for prisoners and those affected by their actions. When victims, offenders, and community members meet to decide how to do that, the results are transformational.

Donate Now