Native American jurisprudence has evolved since tribes began to regain their sovereignty, returning to traditional values of respect, community support and responsibility, and collective healing — for victims, perpetrators and the circle of lives they touch.
A new report by the Indian Law Resource Center, entitled Restoring Safety to Native Women and Girls and Strengthening Native Nations, includes some good discussion (with citations) about tribal courts using peacemaking and other tribal traditional dispute resolution mechanisms (pp. 66-72) and also documents the use of Circle Sentencing by the Kake Tribal Court in criminal cases with an eye toward similar further developments (pp. 84-85). You can download the full report at the Indian Law Resource Center website.
Peacemaking provides a safe structure where people can talk together to resolve conflict. It is a community-based process that addresses the concerns of all interested parties. This process uses traditional rituals, such as the group circle and Clan relationships, to involve parties that are in a conflict. A circle can involve supporters, elders and interested community members. Within the circle, people can speak from the heart, and together identify and agree upon the steps necessary for healing. Read more: