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Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

CRIM 3151: Aboriginal Restorative Justice

As an introduction to the aboriginal restorative justice paradigm, students critically examine the historical and contemporary experiences of Aboriginal/Indigenous peoples in Canada. The idea of "justice" is explored and compared amongst some Indigenous, restorative, retributive and rehabilitative conceptions. Particular attention is paid to the importance of values, relationships, needs, and healing for those who cause harm and have been harmed. Indigenous and restorative justice approaches are evaluated in the context of law enforcement, the law, corrections, community development, and crime prevention.

Learning outcomes

After successfully completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Describe elements of Indigenous worldviews.
  • Assess victimization and offending as it relates to historic and contemporary colonization, residential school impacts, systemic and institutional racism, and colonial policies.
  • Analyze the points of intersection and divergence between Indigenous justice, restorative justice and the Canadian criminal justice system.
  • Critically evaluate the morality and efficacy of punishment as a response to harm.
  • Compare and contrast restorative, retributive, and rehabilitative justice approaches.
  • Evaluate culturally relevant crime prevention and healing initiatives by and for Indigenous and non- Indigenous people.
  • Analyze Indigenous and restorative justice practices utilizing the lenses of shame and trauma.
  • Compare and contrast settler and Indigenous justice, considering what generalizations can and cannot be reasonably made.
  • Report findings from information obtained from knowledgeable Indigenous or restorative justice field sources.
  • Provide feedback to community members and justice practitioners about the meaning and application of Indigenous and Restorative Justice.

Course topics

CRIM 3151: Aboriginal Restorative Justice includes the following 12 modules:

  • Module 1: Introduction to Indigenous Perspectives in Canada--Traditional Teachings and Ideologies
  • Module 2: Colonialism, the Indian Act, Assimilation, Residential Schools, and Intergenerational Trauma
  • Module 3: Aboriginal Overrepresentation--Explanations and Experiences with the Criminal "Justice" System
  • Module 4: Criminal Justice in Contemporary Society
  • Module 5: Deconstructing Punishment--Theory, Practice, and Ethics
  • Module 6: Justice as Healing--Contrasting Retributive, Rehabilitative, and Restorative Approaches
  • Module 7: Restorative Justice Theory and Practice
  • Module 8: Shame
  • Module 9: Trauma
  • Module 10: Indigenous and Restorative Justice within Law Enforcement and the Courts
  • Module 11: Indigenous and Restorative Justice within Corrections
  • Module 12: Aboriginal and Restorative Justice as Community Development and Crime Prevention

Required text and materials

The following textbooks are required for this course:

  1. Monchalin, L. The colonial problem: An Indigenous perspective on crime and injustice in Canada. Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press, 2016.
    Type: ISBN: 978-1-4426-0662-3
  1. Elliott, E. M. Security with care: Restorative justice & healthy societies. Black Point, NS: Fernwood Publishing, 2011.
    Type: ISBN: 978-1-55266-425-4
  1. LaBoucane-Benson, P., & Mellings, K. The outside circle: A graphic novel. Toronto, ON: House of Anansi Press, 2015.
    Type: ISBN: 978-1-77089-937-7

Additional requirements

Upon registration you will be provided with a list of additional resources used in this course.


To successfully complete this course, students must achieve a passing grade of 50% or higher on the overall course, and 50% or higher on the mandatory Final Project.

Critical Reflective Essay 1 10%
Critical Reflective Essay 2 10%
Critical Reflective Essay 3 10%
Critical Reflective Essay 4 10%
Critical Reflective Essay 5 10%
Critical Reflective Essay 6 10%
Crime, Safety and Justice Letter 5%
Online Postings 15%
Final Project: Reflective Paper * 20%
Total 100%

* Mandatory

Open Learning Faculty Member Information

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Students will receive the necessary contact information at the start of the course.

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