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Peacemaking and community harmony: Lessons (and admonitions) from the Navajo Peacemaking Courts.

Winfree Jr, L. Thomas
June 4, 2015

Source: Las Cruces, New Mexico: New Mexico State University.

With considerable interest in restorative justice and its legal and cultural antecedents, many have pointed to aboriginal cultural practices with respect to the restoration of harmony, balance, or peace within a community. Winfree acknowledges the value in learning from those practices, yet he also contends there are cautionary elements in them as well. In general, such elements have been ignored by restorative justice proponents. In view of all of this, Winfree identifies key lessons to be learned form Navajo restorative justice practices. He focuses in particular on promises and cautions for restorative justice in relation to Navajo Peacemaker Courts. He does so first by examining underlying aboriginal ideas and philosophy, and then by locating Peacemaker Courts in Navajo history, culture, values, sense of justice, and ceremonies.


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