BC FIRST NATIONS JUSTICE COUNCIL AT A GLANCE
A Bit of Background
The BC First Nations Justice Council was created in 2016 by the BC Assembly of First Nations, the First Nations Summit and the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. It has a dual mandate of advocating to address the overrepresentation of First Nations peoples in jails and of First Nations children in care. In 2017, the Justice Council signed an MOU with the Government of BC to jointly craft a new Indigenous Justice Strategy.
The Meaning of Justice
At the most basic level of understanding, justice is understood differently by Aboriginal people. The dominant society tries to control actions it considers potentially or actually harmful to society as a whole, to individuals or to the wrongdoers themselves by interdiction, enforcement or apprehension, in order to prevent or punish harmful or deviant behaviour. The emphasis is on the punishment of the deviant as a means of making that person conform, or as a means of protecting other members of society.
The purpose of a justice system in an Aboriginal society is to restore the peace and equilibrium within the community, and to reconcile the accused with his or her own conscience and with the individual or family who has been wronged. This is a primary difference. It is a difference that significantly challenges the appropriateness of the present legal and justice system for Aboriginal people in the resolution of conflict, the reconciliation and the maintenance of community harmony and good order.
Report of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry of Manitoba, Vol. 1, p. 22
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