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Punishment versus Healing: How Does Traditional Indian Law Work?

Zion, James W
June 4, 2015

Source: (1997) Justice as Healing. 2(3)

Many people are skeptical of justice methods which do not have punishment as their driving force. There is a great deal of disbelief about traditional Indian law for that reason, and there are many who are leery of the growing restorative justice movement. The author maintains that one of the difficulties with “lawâ€? as it is viewed in Canada and the United States is that it is dominated by legal positivism and its definition that “lawâ€? is “a rule laid down for the guidance of an intelligent being by an intelligent being having power over him.â€? Western law is built on the relationship of “superiorsâ€? to ‘inferiors.’ In contrast, indigenous justice uses respect, consensus, solidarity, mutuality, interdependence, relationships, reciprocity, and even love as the means to heal in traditional justice methods.


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