JUSTICE – DENE YÉDĀ́NEHDĪHĪ DÉ’ GŪTĪE GŪLḖ SĮ̄́
(IF YOU ARE RESPECTFUL TO PEOPLE, EVERYTHING WILL BE GOOD MAYBE)
The Liard First Nation (LFN) Justice Department provides a variety of opportunities and resources for Liard First Nation members. Preventative justice programs, workshops, promoting community awareness of justice issues as well as providing support for any LFN member charged with a crime or requiring legal assistance are some of the main focuses of the department.
Members are also encouraged to reach out to the Justice Department for information and support that may prevent a crime from happening.
The Liard First Nation Justice Department relies on LFN Elders to provide direction and model positive change. LFN Elders exhibit resilience in all aspects of life which make them ideal supports for those navigating the justice system. Our programs support connecting our Kaska Elders with our Youth.
The Goal of the Justice Department is effective and efficient governance for the benefit of all LFN members and community.
The Justice Department pursues its goal by providing focussing on the following areas:
LEGAL INFORMATION ON VARIOUS TOPICS
The Justice Department provides Liard First Nation members with legal information, support and referrals on matters such as:
- Firearms renewals
- Jury duty
- Information and application to visit incarcerated family members (in jail)
- Healing journey based on the needs of each individual
- 24/hour Crisis Help Line
- After-care, reintegration and prevention programs
- Research, referral and assistance to apply to addiction treatment programs
MOVING THROUGH THE JUSTICE SYSTEM
The Justice Department supports Liard First Nation members in moving through the justice system, by providing information on matters such as:
- Navigating the justice system
- Bail hearing assistance (Gladue reports*); gathering information from family members
- Alternative justice versus mainstream
- When and how to contact a lawyer
- How to apply for legal aid
- Help with paperwork and the application
- Bridge the gaps between other agencies and the person in the justice system, such as language gaps, family situations, working as conduits between First Nation and non-First Nation values, etc.
- Civil, JP, Supreme Court system support, information gathering
- Court Worker Support Services (see 4.4.3)
* A Gladue report is a type of pre-sentencing and bail hearing report that a Canadian court can request when considering sentencing an offender of Aboriginal background under Section 718.2(e) of the Criminal Code. Gladue was the first case to challenge section 718.2(e) of the Criminal Code.
THE ROLE OF A COURT WORKER
Court Workers provide services for LFN members going through the justice system. Court Workers support an LFN member charged with a crime by:
- Providing services for anyone going through the justice system
- Explaining the legal system to them
- Helping them to know their rights and understand the court procedures
- Preventing additional trauma related to navigating the justice system
- Bridging the gaps between First Nations language, values, families, experiences and other agencies, particularly non-First Nations Justice agencies or counselling
- Attending court to make sure they have the right legal representation
- Facilitating case assessment, including liaison with the victim, offender, family and community and arranging for participation in the Dena Keh Justice Program as an alternative to the Criminal Justice System (See 4.4.5)
- Assisting / preparing Gladue Reports.
THE ROLE OF A COMMUNITY JUSTICE WORKER
Community Justice Workers provide support and related services for any LFN members affected by the Justice System, including:
- After-care programs for people returning from treatment programs or incarceration
- Facilitate healing circles, sentencing circles and family group conferencing
DENA KEH COMMUNITY JUSTICE PROGRAM (OUR PEOPLE’S WAY)
The Dena Keh Justice (Our People’s Way) program is a holistic, community-based form of alternative justice that restores harmony within the community in the Liard First Nations way.
Kaska tradition and values are incorporated into this Community Justice Program by trained facilitators, using the Family Group Conference Technique.
Key Goals of Dena Keh Justice
- Repair the harm caused by the offending behaviour
- Increase the sense of social justice for Victims and others
- Understand the root cause of the offending behaviour and heal it
Who is Dena Keh For?
- The person or people harmed and their family members
- The person or people who did the harm and their family members
- The community and appropriate resource people
- People with addictions who need referrals to a treatment centre
– People needing reintegration or aftercare following incarceration or treatment
– Parents or families who want to prevent problems or do an intervention
- The RCMP, Crown or the Community can refer any matter to Dena Keh for consideration.
How Does Dena Keh Work?
Dena Keh is based on a circular model that brings together the Victim, Offender, family/support people, the Dena Keh trained facilitator, and other resources (as needed) and takes them through a group conference process.
Through this process, the victim has the opportunity to be heard, the offender has the opportunity to acknowledge and restore the wrong they have committed, and the family/support people can voice their concerns and feelings around the situation.
The offender is held accountable, examines the impact of his/her actions on others, and accepts responsibility. They must follow through on any agreement for repairing the harm done, which is part of the process. When complete, harmony and balance can be re-established within the community.
What Happens After Dena Keh?
The Offender must return to court, and the judge will either stay the proceedings (i.e. no further court) or proceed with the criminal charges.
There is no criminal record for the Offender when they go through the Dena Keh Process and their agreement is completed in full.
However, if they do not follow through on the recommendations, they will be returned to the criminal justice system, where they will receive a fine, jail time, probation or another conventional punishment.
How is Dena Keh Accessed?
Participants must be referred to the program by:
- The Court
- Community (self-referral)
- Other agencies.
Before beginning, the harmer must also agree to participate in the process.
For more information on Dena Keh, please contact the LFN Justice Office.
LFN works to bridge the gaps between our members and these agencies, in terms of language and cultural differences, particularly with non-First Nations agencies.
- Victim Services
- Probation Services
- Court Registry
- Yukon Government
- Liard First Nation Community Police Board