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Widening the Circle: Adapting Traditional Indian Dispute Resolution to Implement Alternative Dispute Resolution and Restorative Justice in Modern Commuities

Ulrich, Gretchen
June 4, 2015

Source: (1999) Hamline Journal of Public Law and Policy. 20:149.

In this paper, Gretchen Ulrich explores the use of traditional Indian dispute resolution methods and the adaptation of some of these methods by non-native people under the umbrella of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). Traditional Indian dispute resolution methods include the peacemaking ceremonies of the Navajo Indians and the talking circles of American Indians and First Nation communities in Canada. To consider all of this, Ulrich begins with an examination of American Indian tribal governments under United States law and a description of tribal justice systems as they exist in the United States today. This leads to a survey of Navajo peacemaker court and circle sentencing, two present-day applications of traditional dispute resolution practices; and to an overview of the ADR movement in the U.S., including restorative justice. After looking at the use of native dispute resolution methods in non-native communities in Minnesota and elsewhere, Ulrich deals with issues concerning the use of these methods in cultural contexts outside of their original kinship and religious milieu.


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