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Alberta Online Encyclopedia
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Nature's Law
Spiritual Life, Governance, Culture, Traditions, Resources, Context and Background
The Heritage Community Foundation, Alberta Law Foundation and Albertasource.ca
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Redress and Judgement

Applying
Relational Law

Kinship Systems

Family
Responsibilities

Respect

 Relationships

Kinship Group

Understandings of Relations

Tsu'u Tina Kinship System

Kinship Terms

Redress
and Judgement

Conclusions

Sources

Visual representation of nature's laws


From what has been said, it is clear that the whole community is involved either directly or indirectly in any disruption of communal balance. At a basic level, then, it is everyone’s business if someone violates a code. Fundamentally everyone has moral judgment, and everyone is required to express it.

Yet there are huge differences in the way a community will respond to a social imbalance. As indicated, personal matters, such as adultery, or the destruction of one’s personal items requires the one who is the target to take matters into his/her hands. To do less is to be regarded as a weakling or to be morally twisted. It is up to the leadership to step in and make sure that the vengeance meted out does not create more havoc in the community. The result is that personal issues like this are usually mediated by someone close to the offended individual. The goal is to prevent violence and to re-establish harmony within the group.

Larger issues, such as contentions between leading families clearly requires the involvement of the most influential people in the community. Traditionally the Chief would use his influence to being about reconciliation and redress, sometimes even paying himself to maintain harmony. Issues like murder requires the whole community, with members from the community that have any knowledge of the people involved called upon to discuss the case in council. The decision has to be taken to bring redress, which can mean any number of options. However, the goal was not punishment or harm to the offender, but reconciliation with the family of the deceased and the re-assertion of balance within the community.

Medicine people of both sexes traditionally played a important role in adjudicating offences, first because they have access to information of a personal and spiritual sort for the people involved, and they are trained to handle what Westerners call emotional and psychological expressions. They also are party to the history of conflicts between families and individuals, conflicts that may be up to seven generations back. This is evidence that is needed to make a solid judgment about any case. Since medicine people come from families that may be involved in such cases, judgments were made about the reliability of their evidence. Such judgments entered into discussion among those who are involved in talking and healing circles. Finally, medicine people also know whether bad medicine has played a role in the affair. If it has, the outcome will require their services in order to set the community back in balance.

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