The effects of colonization and Restorative Justice in Winnipeg, Canada

Clara Csilla Romano


This article describes my experience in Winnipeg, Canada, where, thanks to the René Cassin prize, I could carry out a 6-month traineeship in the field of fundamental rights and human development.

In particular, the article introduces Restorative Justice (RJ), the field of work I was involved in, defining it and looking further into the tools put in place by the indigenous RJ organization I worked for: Onashowewin Justice Circle.

Given the importance of the historical and socio-economic context this organization operates in, this intervention describes briefly in what forms colonization took place and affected, and still affects, the indigenous populations of Canada. Despite the general idea that in this country there are low levels of inequality and poverty, many people belonging to this minority are still trapped in cycles of poverty, discrimination, trauma, high rates of substance abuse, criminality, etc.

This article focuses on the work of Onashowewin and on Restorative Justice as valid methods for conflict prevention and resolution and social (re)integration. It is in fact affirmed that working on individuals – providing them with the proper tools to live responsibly, take care of themselves and make better choices – it is possible to turn their environment and the community into safer places.


Restorative justice; Local development; Social inclusion

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