Returning to the Teachings

Exploring Aboriginal Justice

By Rupert Ross

Other Publisher

Softcover, 300 pages, ISBN: 0-14-305559-3, published by Penguin Canada 



We are thrilled to carry Returning to the Teachings. Living Justice Press exists because of it, since reading this book inspired its executive director and cofounder, Denise Breton, to go into restorative justice in the first place—and to focus on Indigenous foundations and Circles in particular.

Returning to the Teachings is about Indigenous justice—and much more. It speaks not only to our minds but also to our hearts and spirits. Above all, it stands as a search for the values and visions that give life its significance and that any justice system, Indigenous or otherwise, must serve and respect.

For three years, Rupert Ross traveled from the Yukon to Cape Breton Island, examining—and experiencing—the widespread Indigenous preference for “peacemaker justice.” In this remarkable book, he invites us to accompany him as he moves past the pain and suffering that grip so many communities and into the exceptional promise of individual, family, and community healing that traditional teachings are now restoring to Aboriginal Canada.

Ross writes, “…an ancient conviction shared by a great many Aboriginal peoples [is] that the best way to respond to the inevitable ups and downs of life, whether defined as ‘criminal’ or not, is not by punishing solitary offenders. The focus must be shifted instead towards the teaching and healing of all the parties involved, with an eye on the past to understand how things have come to be, and an eye on the future to design measures that show the greatest promise of making it healthier for all concerned.”

Rupert Ross has been the Euro-Canadian Assistant Crown Attorney for the District of Kenora in Ontario, Canada, since 1985. He is also the author of Dancing with a Ghost: Exploring Indian Reality as well as countless articles on restorative justice and peacemaking ways.

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