Doing Things the Right Way

Dene Traditional Justice in Lac La Martre, NWT


Doing Things the Right Way

Joan Ryan and her research team have carefully documented Dogrib traditional justice as it has been practised over the past century. Relying upon information received from the elders of Lac La Martre, Northwest Territories, they have unearthed a sophisticated body of Dogrib law, the understanding of which has important implications for contemporary ways in which the Dogrib people and the department of justice can deal with social control.

The material is organized and presented in a way that makes it accessible to both Dene and non-Dene readers alike. The methodology of the book is one of "participatory action research," in which the community itself owned and directed the research, training, and outcomes.

By exposing the very different values and legal systems of the Dene and non-Dene, this book sets the framework for the possibility of a Dene-controlled and culturally appropriate justice system. The book will be of value to those interested in native self-government, constitutional rights, and aboriginal law, as well as to all those involved with First Nations peoples.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Front Cover 1
Half Title Page 2
Full Title Page 4
Copyright Page 5
Dedication 6
Contents 8
Abbreviations 9
Foreword 10
Acknowledgments 12
Map - The Northwest Territories 17
Dogrib Overview 18
Overview 26
Elders Interviewed 33
1 | Introduction 34
2 | “Doing Things the Right Way: The Way You Were Taught” 56
3 | Family Rules: Rules for Living Together 70
4 | Living Politically According to the Dene Ways 84
5 | Using the Past to Build a Better Future 98
6 | Taking Back Control: Three Case Examples 106
7 | Conflicts between Dogrib and Non-Dene Justice Systems 122
8 | Conclusions and Recommendations 132
Reflections on Selected Literature 144
Bibliography 166
Index 180
Author Photo 185
Back Cover 186