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The International Journal of Restorative Justice

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Issue Online First, 2023 Expand all abstracts
Article

Indigenous justice and restorative justice: exploring perceptions of convergence and divergence in British Columbia and Saskatchewan

Keywords Indigenous justice, restorative justice, convergence, divergence
Authors Muhammad Asadullah, Alana Abramson, Xilonen Hanson Pastran e.a.
AbstractAuthor's information

    There is a plethora of literature conflating the terms Indigenous justice and restorative justice. This collaborative action research project examined the relationship between Indigenous justice and restorative justice in British Columbia (BC) and Saskatchewan (SK), Canada. This qualitative study employed a decolonising research method. As a result, the research was overseen by a community advisory committee, composed of justice stakeholders and knowledge keepers in BC and SK. Data were collected through 26 key-informant interviews (seventeen from BC and nine from SK) and 33 focus group discussions in eight communities in BC and SK. Our findings included the definitions of restorative justice and Indigenous justice and points of convergence and divergence. This study unearthed a wide range of distinctions between Indigenous justice and restorative justice. According to some participants, ‘there’s absolutely no similarities’ between restorative justice and Indigenous justice, whereas to others restorative justice and Indigenous justice are like the ‘difference between chocolate and vanilla ice cream’. This study demonstrates the importance of dialogue between justice stakeholders and Indigenous Elders, knowledge keepers and communities to reveal the unique and important distinctions between Indigenous justice and restorative justice. This study ends with a discussion on limitations and areas for future research.


Muhammad Asadullah
Muhammad Asadullah is assistant professor in the Department of Justice Studies of the University of Regina, Canada.

Alana Abramson
Alana Abramson is a criminology instructor at the Department of Criminology, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Canada.

Xilonen Hanson Pastran
Xilonen Hanson Pastran is a law student at the University of Victoria, Canada.

Jori Fulks
Jori Fulks graduated from Simon Fraser University, Canada. Corresponding author: Muhammad Asadullah at Muhammad.Asadullah@uregina.ca.