4.5.2 Recommended Changes to the Justice System

The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples1 (among other enquiries/cases) recommended that independent justice systems be established on reserves. Such systems would be based on and reinforce Indigenous values and traditions, and recognize the important role of Elders. The report suggested the use of “sentencing circles”, diversion programs and corrections programs that are based in Indigenous values instead of regular courts. Independent Indigenous justice systems recognize that Indigenous communities have values and traditions that are based on history. As well, these systems are seen to be in agreement with the inherent right of Indigenous self-government.

Research indicates that justice programs that are exclusively for Indigenous people and based on Indigenous values result in Indigenous people feeling that their concerns, and the concerns of their communities, will be heard and that they have a greater chance of receiving justice.2

1Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada. (INAC) 1996. Highlights from the Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. https://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1100100014597/1100100014637
2Clark, S. (2016). Evaluation of the Gladue Court Old City Hall, Toronto. 2016. Cited in Rudin, J. (2018). The (in)justice system and Indigenous people. Policy Options, April, 30.