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Using restorative justice to resolve historical injustices of Indigenous peoples

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This article explores the application of restorative justice to situations of historical injustice. It argues that applying restorative justice practices and principles could maximize justice for Indigenous peoples by, first, refocusing Indigenous land claims on the restoration of tribal respect and dignity rather than on the restoration of property rights, and second, acknowledging the wider social relationships in which such conflicts arise. This article also contends that using restorative justice in situations of historical injustice may impact on the practice of restorative justice itself. First, the roles and relationships of key players will change which may lead ultimately to a reconsideration of the role of the State in restorative justice. Second, applying restorative justice in situations of Indigenous historical grievances underscores the collective nature of such conflicts and the collective, contextual nature of evolving notions of the justice in restorative justice.
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Keywords: Indigenous peoples; Maori; New Zealand; historical injustice; reparative justice; restorative justice

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Blake Dawson, Melbourne, Australia

Publication date: 2009-03-01

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