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Navajo peacemaking: original dispute resolution and a life way

Zion, James W.
June 4, 2015

Source: (2006) In, Dennis Sullivan and Larry Tifft editors, “Handbook of Restorative Justice” A Global Perspective. London and New York: Routledge. Taylor & Francis Group pp.151-160

This analysis of Navajo peacemaking attempts to describe how Navajos use concepts of norms and institutions in a traditional justice process. It shows that there are similarities and differences between restorative justice principles in general and ‘Navajo restorative justice’ and identifies points of divergence. However, as the concept of restorative justice evolves, because it is a plastic term for many manifestations of problem-solving outside adjudications, Navajo peacemaking is an example of an indigenous approach and a potential model. There are some who say that peacemaking is so spiritually and culturally unique to Navajos that it cannot be replicated, but the authors of this chapter maintain that while it is unique, it is also an example of the human ability to solve problems in a nonviolent and non-authoritarian way. It allows, and encourages, people to solve their own problems, and over two decades of practice shows that the process works. (excerpt)


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