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Illumine: Journal of the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society

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Dispute Resolution, Indigeneity and First Peoples, Lay Participation, Court Procedure


The case of Christopher Pauchay demonstrates some of the differences between predominant Euro-Canadian and First Nations approaches to dispute resolution. The principles of sentencing circles sometimes overlap with the principles of restorative justice and suggest their potential incorporation into the criminal justice system. The use of alternative processes that share some common values is not enough to overcome to chasm between Euro-Western and Aboriginal justice. Where underlying worldviews diff er, those who can choose between competing values amidst limited possibilities will likely choose the values that refl ect the conventional system. A comparison of Euro-Western and Aboriginal approaches to crime and punishment clarifi es why Pauchay’s sentencing circle was unsuccessful as an alternative option. Advocates of alternative methods must consider more than the implementation of a process when adapting selective cultural methods to the overarching system. Without further evaluation, alternative dispute resolution (ADR) itself becomes a mechanism of recolonization.