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The Dynamics of Navajo Peacemaking

Zion, James W
June 4, 2015

Source: (1998) Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice 14 (1): 58-74.

This article explains the traditional Navajo justice process using social psychology and Navajo discourse. It identifies the nayee or monster (things that get in the way of a successful life) in disputes in light of cognitive dissonance or the state of tension when a person holds two inconsistent beliefs. It then describes an approach to the excuses people give as a result. The article identifies and discusses the excuses and shows how traditional Navajo process addresses them. It outlines the dynamics of traditional Navajo justice to show that it is a practical means to resolve conflict. It also illustrates how a traditional Indian legal method can be replicated in the new field of restorative justice to better deal with crime, violence, and conflict.


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