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Reconciliation and Indigenous Justice

A Search for Ways Forward

by David Milward  

This book provides an account of the ongoing ties between the enduring traumas caused by the residential schools and Indigenous over-incarceration

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  • April 2022
  • ISBN: 9781773635194
  • 222 pages
  • $32.00
  • For sale worldwide
  • EPUB April 2022
  • ISBN: 9781773635408
  • $31.99
  • For sale worldwide
  • PDF April 2022
  • ISBN: 9781773635415
  • $31.99
  • For sale worldwide

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About the book

The horrors of the Indian residential schools are by now well-known historical facts, and they have certainly found purchase in the Canadian consciousness in recent years. The history of violence and the struggles of survivors for redress resulted in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which chronicled the harms inflicted by the residential schools and explored ways to address the resulting social fallouts. One of those fallouts is the crisis of Indigenous over-incarceration. While the residential school system may not be the only harmful process of colonization that fuels Indigenous over-incarceration, it is arguably the most critical factor. It is likely that the residential school system forms an important part of the background of almost every Indigenous person who ends up incarcerated, even those who did not attend the schools. The legacy of harm caused by the schools is a vivid and crucial link between Canadian colonialism and Indigenous over-incarceration. Reconciliation and Indigenous Justice provides an account of the ongoing ties between the enduring trauma caused by the residential schools and Indigenous over-incarceration.

Class Inequality Crime & Law Indigenous Resistance & Decolonization

What people are saying

Andrew Woolford, author of The Politics of Restorative Justice and Professor, Department of Sociology and Criminology University of Manitoba

“David Milward provides a clear-sighted and accessible engagement with the challenge of Indigenous over-incarceration and the continuing legacy of Indian Residential Schools, using compelling examples to present a pathway for doing justice better in Canada.”

Kent Roach, Professor of Law, University of Toronto

“Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand how the Canadian criminal justice system fails Indigenous people and how Indigenous Justice can, under the right conditions, be fairer, less expensive and more effective.”


David Milward

David Milward is an associate professor of law with the University of Victoria and a member of the Beardy’s & Okemasis First Nation of Duck Lake, Saskatchewan. He assisted the Truth and Reconciliation Commission with the authoring of its final report on Indigenous justice issues and is the author of Aboriginal Justice and the Charter: Realizing a Culturally Sensitive Interpretation of Legal Rights, which was joint winner of the K.D. Srivastava Prize for Excellence in Scholarly Publishing and was short-listed for the Canadian Law & Society Association Book Prize. He also co-authored The Art of Science in the Canadian Justice: A Reflection on My Experiences as an Expert Witness. Dr. Milward is the author of numerous articles on Indigenous justice in leading national and international law journals.


  • Chapter 1: The Legacy of the Residential Schools
  • Chapter 2: Different Views of Crime 1. Theoretical Constructions of
  • 2. Constructions of Crime and Justice Policy
  • Chapter 3: The Seeds of Intergenerational Trauma 1. Stories and Studies of Trauma
  • 2. Victimized by the Residential Schools
  • 3. Abuse All Around: School and Home
  • 4. Subsequent Substance Abuse
  • 5. Mental Health
  • 6. Racism in and outside of Residential Schools
  • 7. Loss of Culture
  • 8. Deficient Parenting
  • Chapter 4: Intergenerational Trauma and Crime 1. Intergenerational Domestic Violence
  • 2. Intergenerational Sexual Abuse
  • 3. Poverty
  • 4. Child Welfare
  • 5. Substance Abuse in Later Generations
  • 6. FASD
  • 7. Multiple Traumas
  • 8. At a Community Level
  • Chapter 5: Reconciliation So Far 1. What is Meant by Reconciliation
  • 2. The Calls to Action and Indigenous Justice
  • 3. Reconciliation Moving Forward
  • Chapter 6: The Status Quo is Not Reconciliation 1. The Settlement Agreement
  • 2. The Aboriginal Healing Foundation
  • 3. The Problem with Deterrence
  • 4. Punishment as Retribution
  • 5. Indigenous-Specific Sentencing
  • 6. Need for More Comprehensive Resolution
  • Chapter 7: Preventative Programming 1. Justice Reinvestment and Long-Term Savings
  • 2. Preventative Programming as Social Reparations
  • 3. Indigenous-Specific Preventative Programming
  • Chapter 8: Arguments for Indigenous Criminal Justice 1. Comparing Indigenous Justice to Restorative Justice
  • 2. Why We Need Alternatives to Incarceration
  • 3. Greater Victim Inclusion
  • 4. Encouraging the Offender to be Responsible
  • 5. Repairing Relationships
  • 6. More Effective Than Incarceration
  • Chapter 9: Arguments against Restorative Justice 1. Power Imbalances
  • 2. Getting Off Easy
  • 3. Doubts about Greater Efficacy
  • 4. Divergence of Interests between the Participants
  • 5. Not Taking Harm Seriously
  • 6. Economic Concerns
  • Chapter 10: Ways Forward for Indigenous Justice 1. Procedural Protections
  • 2. Making Indigenous Justice More Effective
  • 3. Indigenous Justice and Offender Responsibility
  • 4. Will No Progress Be Made?
  • Chapter 11: Indigenous Corrections and Parole 1. The Theory of Indigenous Healing in Prison
  • 2. Canadian Correctional Law
  • 3. Does It Work?
  • 4. Lack of Resource Commitment
  • 5. Security Classification and Parole
  • 6. Risk Assessment and Parole
  • 7. Indigenous Gangs and Parole
  • Chapter 12: Reconciliation in the Future


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