This article argues for community-based justice to confront the atrocities of residential schools in Canada. After considering the strengths of community-based restorative justice (CBRJ) in relation to state-sponsored transitional justice responses, I examine a case study of the Remembering the Children Society (RCS), an Indigenous church partnership, that has worked to commemorate children who lost their lives at the Red Deer Industrial School. The RCS engages in a decolonizing form of CBRJ by placing primacy on Indigenous cultures through (1) feasts and ceremonies, (2) freeing the spirits of children who died, (3) the centrality of elders, and (4) Aboriginal spirituality and world views on ‘working together’. The centrality of cultures contributes to decolonization through (1) cultural resistance in the face of assimilation, (2) the healing power of cultural resurgence, (3) the development of mutually honoring partnerships, and (4) the telling of decolonizing truths. In conclusion, I consider the broader impacts of the RCS in helping transform official narratives about residential schools.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Community justice, decolonization, Indigenous tradition/culture/ceremony, residential schools, restorative justice, transitional justice
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1080/10282580.2016.1226818
Journal Contemporary Justice Review: Issues in Criminal, Social, and Restorative Justice
Citation
Park, A. (2016). Remembering the children: decolonizing community-based restorative justice for Indian Residential Schools. Contemporary Justice Review: Issues in Criminal, Social, and Restorative Justice, 19(4), 424–444. doi:10.1080/10282580.2016.1226818