Results mirrored themes and findings from the research literature. You are a product of generations who survived … we survived genocide, colonization.”… “A lot of people did not survive colonization. They indicated that it meant a lot that they were able to be with other Indigenous young people who shared their opinions and sympathized with their own attempts to understand their identities. The term “research” is inextricably linked to European imperialism and colonialisms (Battiste, 2014; Cunneen, Rowe, & Tauri, 2016). CASs should comply with government requirements to collect, tabulate and report human rights-based data. More incidents of formal contact diminish the likelihood of diversion. The email address and/or password entered does not match our records, please check and try again. I looked at ceremony and spirit.” Another circle member shared the following: I did not know who I was. One of the helpers and the Elder are regularly engaged in activities with young people that involve the outdoors, traditional activities, and teachings. The OHRC analyzes the factors that result in discrimination in the context of child welfare decision-making. The overrepresentation of Indigenous Peoples in jails and youth detention in B.C. Research in the United States (supported by some Canadian research) indicates that medical and school professionals tend to over-report racialized families to child welfare authorities. The Supreme Court of Canada has called the overrepresentation of Indigenous people “a crisis in the Canadian justice system” (Rudin, 2005, p. 5). The talking circle method recognizes young people as collaborators in the research project and contributors to community knowledge (Bird-Naytowhow et al., 2017). Special thanks to the young people who shared their thoughts with us, without whom this study would not be possible. Each individual described the role that Indigenous history, tradition, culture, and ceremony had played in their own recovery or reparation of their self-worth. One person suffers from (what happened to their) parents then the next suffers from them…. • Aboriginal youth in pre-trial detention were detained an average of 29.3 days, compared to 10.8 days for non-Aboriginal youth. The following recommendations have a direct link to human rights and would serve as a valuable reference for all governments and agencies across Canada. Academic research did not undergo ethical and moral engagements with Indigenous peoples as academic research and scholarship has been plagued with clandestine colonialism (Bird-Naytow-how et al., 2017). Annie Gaughan for her research support. The role of “othering” Indigenous peoples in the context of epistemological and methodological frameworks has only recently received critical attention (Cunneen et al., 2016). Jasjit Goraya Canadian criminologists and policymakers alike have long debated the issue of “disproportionate minority confinement,” or the overrepresentation of minority youth in the criminal justice system. Perhaps this is not surprising given that the population of Indigenous peoples living off reserve has increased almost 50% since 2006 (Statistics Canada, 2017). Tensions, contradictions, and uneasiness of stories, and the resurgence of Indigenous societies. The central purpose of this study was to provide a platform for Indigenous young peoples’ opinions regarding the overrepresentation of Indigenous young people in the criminal justice system. However, the results that follow are themes that are derived from the lived and observed experiences of Indigenous young people and the Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee, and Métis communities. In communities where Indigenous young people are routinely stopped, searched, and questioned, it is not surprising that these same young people are hostile toward police (Perry, 2009). Anand, S. (2000). CASs should commit to fully implementing the relevant Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC)’s Calls to Action. INDIGENOUS YOUTH AND THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM: AN OVERVIEW 15 Indigenous people experience very high rates of a variety of physical and mental illnesses, which contribute to poorer quality of life and higher mortality rates. (, Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. Though participants talked about “inferior parenting skills” and the inability of parents to communicate effectively with their children, each had great empathy for parent’s pain and loss. The OHRC also summarizes the causes of neglect in this community as “chronic family concerns, such as poverty, poor and unsafe housing, substance use, mental health issues and social isolation”. Both give testimony to the strength of Indigenous peoples in Canada. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Criminolog... Community engagement in youth justice program design, Over-represented and misunderstood: Pacific young people and juvenile justice in NSW. As one participant suggested, “(it’s about) reclaiming roots, giving them tools, showing them supports and how to access.” One participant gave an example of the importance of ceremony in their everyday saying that, “Reclaiming our roots. Programming should include young people not just as participants, but as developers and leaders with input of their own. They create ethical guidelines for the researcher and the Indigenous knowledge holders related to informed consent, partnerships, academic integrity, equity, and benefit sharing. The history of colonialism in Canada, and the cultural conflict, lack of power, systemic discrimination, and structural inequality that accompanied it, provide the broad context in which to understand the impoverishment which exist in Indigenous communities to this day (Grekul & Laboucane-Benson, 2008). In summarizing the existing research across Canada, the OHRC notes that neglect (as opposed to active child abuse) is the main reason that Indigenous children enter the child welfare system. The conversation progressed organically until its conclusion. Unfortunately, there has also been a historical focus on young people as targets of colonial tactics. New and incumbent child protection workers and managers should be required to undergo training on anti-racism and providing culturally competent services to Indigenous, Black and other racialized families. An example that the talking circles gave of the kind of activity that could engage young people in history, tradition, culture, and ceremony (and one that is seen in the research literature as key to the Indigenous identity) was any activity that was connected to the land. The sample of young people was comprised of young people who grew up in an urban area. The loss and inability to translate and pass on Indigenous history, tradition, culture, and ceremony was mentioned in conjunction with the destruction of Indigenous communities and, more importantly, Indigenous families. Therefore, the results are not generalizable to the larger community of Indigenous young people in Canada. Such training should be done in partnership with people from affected communities and incorporate a focus on: The history, impacts and intergenerational effects of the residential schools, The foundational differences between Indigenous and western world views regarding relationships between individuals, including children, and the community, Trauma-informed practices in an Indigenous context. Indigenous peoples1 are overrepresented in the prison populations of most western nations including Australia, Canada, and New Zealand (Roberts & Melchers, 2003). The fear of self-identifying as Indigenous was also a common thread, often connected to the repercussions that might come with such an identity. Jackson (2015) argues that though consideration of an Indigenous young person’s unique background at sentencing is important, it simply is not impacting Indigenous young peoples’ over-incarceration. This comment is in keeping with findings from research done on the policing of Indigenous communities which suggest that police appear to carry into their actions with Indigenous people “the same stockpile of stereotypes and images that shape the broader patterns of cultural imperialism” (Perry, 2009, p. 49). As Wilson (2008) argues, research which attempts to engage with Indigenous methodologies by utilizing talking circles and storytelling must honor “the talk” (p. 99). Some would argue, the problem of the overrepresentation of Indigenous young people has failed to show improvement because law reform does little to tackle the intergenerational social problems resulting from government policies that underpin violence, poverty, and substance abuse in Indigenous communities (Murdocca as cited in Balfour, 2012). The TRC (2015) was clear in drawing the connection between the legacy of colonialism, specifically residential schools,2 and the overrepresentation of incarcerated Indigenous young people as noted in the following: The great vulnerability and disadvantage experienced by so many Aboriginal youth undoubtedly contribute to their over representation, a factor that is intimately tied to the legacy of the residential schools. Race-based data should be cross-tabulated with relevant provincial performance measures for the child welfare system. It just reminded me how powerful ceremonies would have been if parents could have had them, how that would have molded us…. The team consulted with the Advisory Committee on (a) what was the appropriate research and research question, (b) how the research should be conducted, and (c) who should be included as participants. The disruption of Indigenous communities, the forced removal of Indigenous children from their families and communities, cruel assimilation strategies that prohibited the practice of Aboriginal culture and language, and the experienced abuse in Canadian residential schools have “broken” generations of Aboriginal families (Corrado et al., 2014). Research suggests that Indigenous young people are not only overrepresented in custody, but also in remand custody and probation (Calverley, Cotter & Halla, 2010). Indigenous youth are overrepresented in Ontario correctional facilities at an even higher rate than Indigenous adults. Now older people (are) making the decisions, youth have no voice. Deciphering the ‘Indigenous’ in Indigenous methodologies, The incarceration of Aboriginal offenders: Trends from 1978 to 2001, Engaging Indigenous communities: Towards a policy framework for Indigenous community justice programmes, Fostering resistance, cultivating decolonization. The study cannot ascertain if different results may have arisen with more specific, targeted questions. Youth feel undervalued and unimportant in institutions today.”. Many of today’s Aboriginal children and youth live with the legacy of residential schools every day, as they struggle to deal with high rates of addictions, fetal alcohol disorder, mental health issues, family violence, incarceration of parents, and the intrusion of child-welfare authorities. The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) notes that systemic discrimination may be diagnosed by looking at numerical data, policies, practices and decision-making processes and organizational culture. There were specific words that appeared connected to the discussion of the history of colonization and residential schools such as “pain,” “loss,” “broken,” and “unbalanced.” One young person noted, “Everything we are seeing … is a culture in crisis.” Participants linked colonization and residential schools to the (a) loss of Indigenous ceremony, culture, and tradition, (b) the destruction of the Indigenous family unit and Indigenous parenting practices, (c) racism and stereotypes, all of which have culminated in (d) the loss of identity and sense of self. The government should report on these commitments on an annual basis. As the Elder noted, “Youth—we can deal with youth in ways we’ve always dealt with them.” One circle member suggested that, “One hundred years ago, youth would have been heard by the community. Thus, Indigenous methods, including poetry, drama, storytelling, and critical personal narratives are performance practices that make Indigenous life visible (Darder et al., 2014). Find out about Lean Library here, If you have access to journal via a society or associations, read the instructions below. Seldom are narratives about Indigenous peoples counterbalanced with explorations of resilience, resistance, agency, and power (Schwan & Lightman, 2013). Figures from the Justice Department paint a dark picture of the state of Indigenous incarceration, with Aboriginal youth seriously overrepresented in the criminal justice system. “Because we have really unique art”: Decolonizing with Indigenous youth using the Arts. Almost every participant shared a story about the impact their shared history has had on their own families. Sinha and Kozlowski (2013) provide further details in their article, The Structure of Aboriginal Child Welfare in Canada. 1“Aboriginal Peoples” is a collective name for all of the original peoples of Canada and their descendants (National Aboriginal Health Organization (NAHO). For more information view the SAGE Journals Article Sharing page. Members of _ can log in with their society credentials below, Australian & New Zealand Journal of Criminology, Carla Cesaroni, Chris Grol, and Kaitlin Fredericks, University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), Canada. Overall, the proportion of Indigenous children admitted into care was 2.6 times higher than their proportion in the child population. This includes implementing the new federal Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families and the principles of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (UNDRIP), and continuing to reduce the overrepresentation of Indigenous children in care. For the past few decades, there has been growing publicity about the over-representation of Indigenous and other minority children in our child welfare systems across Canada. Each talking circle was led by an Elder, his two Oshkawbaywuss (helpers/apprentices), and an Indigenous Cultural Advisor. is increasing, according to the latest Statistics Canada report on adult and youth corrections. Discrimination plays a role in policy formation and decision-making about placement in out-of-home care and funding of child welfare initiatives. Underlying causes of Aboriginal over-representation The Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Framework explicitly recognises that the contemporary social and economic circumstances of Aboriginal people are inextricably linked to ongoing and previous generations’ experiences of European colonisation. A strong and overwhelming theme that arose from this study is the impact of colonization and residential schools which participants saw as generational, ongoing, and directly connected to the overrepresentation of young people in the youth justice system and youth custody in particular. Though their opinions are correlated and supported by the research literature on Indigenous young people, the circle members engage with the subject matter via their own lived experience. Youth feel undervalued and unimportant in institutions today.” All participants recognized the importance of hearing young people’s opinions, the necessity to demonstrate to Indigenous young people that they were cared for, and the importance of gaining young people’s trust. Doob and Sprott (2007) suggest that researchers have still not adequately addressed the question: What is it in the lives of Indigenous young people that accounts for their high rate of involvement in the criminal justice system? The circle participants were a convenient sample that were likely self-selected (i.e., they were individuals who were likely already aware of Indigenous issues/concerns and were connected with key individuals in the local Indigenous community). Much of this paper has discussed the challenges and difficulties facing Indigenous young people. New and incumbent child protection workers and managers should be required to undergo training on how to collect human rights-based data. The OHRC indicates that causes of over-representation of children from these communities in the system include poverty resulting from historic and ongoing systemic and direct discrimination. Please check you selected the correct society from the list and entered the user name and password you use to log in to your society website. Emerging themes (or categories) were developed by studying the transcripts repeatedly, and considering possible meanings and how these fit with developing themes (Thomas, 2003). Connected to this theme was the recognition that identifying as Indigenous could have severe repercussions, as evident in the removal of Indigenous peoples to residential schools, but also in being charged more severely for minor offences (in comparison to non-Indigenous peers). Systemic barriers being put in place … residential schools … inter-generational struggle. The increasing status of Indigenous overrepresentation is a clear indication of the failures of the Canadian Criminal Justice System. The government should monitor and ensure CASs’ compliance with any legislation, regulations and policy directives pertaining to human rights-based data collection, with the aim of increasing the accuracy of the data collected and reducing the amount of missing or unknown data to zero. Weibe (2015) argues that “the mere existence of Indigenous people is an everyday act of survival and resistance.” This paper will close with two quotes, one from the circle’s Elder and one from one of the circle’s young people. Thus, it is theorized, the interaction of structural inequality, community and cultural breakdown, and systemic discrimination (rooted in the vestiges of colonialism) result in Indigenous overrepresentation in prisons (Grekul & LaBoucane-Benson, 2008). These structural conditions may influence police decisions to patrol, police, and formally charge (Fitzgerald & Carrington, 2008). Successful Indigenous prevention, rehabilitation, and programming are facilitated by the inclusion of a cultural match (Ryan et al., 2006). Homel, Lincoln, and Herd (1999) describe Indigenous cultural resilience in terms of Indigenous peoples’ diversity, revival and distinctiveness. Perhaps the theme that involved the longest and deepest conversations in the talking circles among the Elder, the Oshkawbaywuss (helpers/apprentices), the cultural advisor and all of the participant young people, was the key role that history, tradition, culture, and ceremony would need to play in the well-being of Indigenous young people, particularly in regard to identity and self-worth. An inductive approach was used for the analysis of the raw data. All these factors place them at greater risk of involvement with crime. Four generations of loss of our culture loss of our identity. Please read and accept the terms and conditions and check the box to generate a sharing link. Social science research has historically reaffirmed the West’s view of itself as the center of legitimate knowledge and the arbiter of what counts as knowledge (Cunneen et al., 2016). The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (1995) locate the root cause of Indigenous crime and overrepresentation in the criminal justice system in Canada’s history of colonialism and its continuing effects in respect to social disorder in Indigenous communities. The system forcibly separated children from their families for extended periods of time and forbade them to acknowledge their Indigenous heritage and culture or to speak their own languages. Jardine, C., Genius, S., Lukasewich, M., & Tang, K. (2016). Contact us if you experience any difficulty logging in. Overrepresentation of Young Aboriginal People in Residential Care Throughout our consultations we heard many service providers and community organizations express concern about the overrepresentation of First Nations, Métis and Inuit youth in residential care, especially in the child welfare and youth justice sectors. (p. 334). Access to society journal content varies across our titles. These policies outline acceptable research practices and prioritize Indigenous values, traditions, and knowledge (Drawson et al., 2017). “(We are) Afraid to talk about being Indigenous…” Because of ongoing stereotypes in the dominant society (and to some degree in the Indigenous community) about what it means to be Indigenous, some participants suggested that they often did not “Feel Indigenous enough” and in fact had people remark “…Well he doesn’t look Indigenous.” Participants noted the irony in this experience, because there were times in their lives that they experienced bullying as several participants said, “For being too native.” As the Elder so succinctly noted to the talking circle: Residential school was very symbolic, it took away our language, our young ones, our ability to parent … Generations of loss of our culture, our identity, our young men do not have the ability to know who they are…. The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article. Indigenous peoples “undoubtedly expect trouble from the police” (Neugebauer as cited in Perry, 2009, p. 3). Understanding the Overrepresentation of Indigenous People in the Criminal Justice System Indigenous people are overrepresented in the Canadian criminal justice system as both victims/survivors 8 and accused/convicted persons. Overrepresentation in custody is more pronounced for Indigenous women 17 overrepresentation   of   Indigenous   youth   in   the   criminal   justice   system   is   a   result   of   the   Canadian   government’s   failure   to   address   social   issues   stemming   from   colonialism as well as the lack of concrete sentencing measures to address systemic He hung with gang kids, and they did bad stuff. Merritt (as cited in McGuire, 2017) suggests that it is important that resilience be defined in an Indigenous context. In 2015–16, Indigenous youth represented a third of all treatment episodes provided by alcohol and other drug treatment services. Getting them on the land and off the streets….”, take them to the mountains to fast, to find their name…. The history of colonialism, displacement, and residential schools continues to translate into lower educational attainment, lower incomes, higher unemployment, higher rates of suicide and substance abuse, and higher rates of incarceration (Office of the Correctional Investigator, 2013). (. by Statistics anada, Indigenous youth continue to be overrepresented in the correctional system remains a key finding.2The youth context of Indigenous overrepresentation is of special concern because the introduction of the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA)in 2002 is widely believed to have provided significant relief since overall youth incarceration rates in Canada have declined. needs to be situated in the history of the colonial destruction of kinship systems (Schwan & Lightman, 2013). For more information view the SAGE Journals Sharing page. Indigenous children were over-represented in admissions into care at 93% of agencies we looked at (25 of 27), with many CASs showing extreme levels of disproportionality. The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples found that though over-policing and systemic discrimination play their part in higher Indigenous crime rates, economic and social deprivation are the underlying causes of higher rates of criminality amongst Indigenous people (Anand, 2000). Another prominent theme among participants was regarding the stereotypes and racism that exists in the dominant community regarding Indigenous criminality. Key among the reasons for its never-ending nature include: the fact that policies often… Funding discrepancies also indicate that discrimination exists in the child welfare system. You can be signed in via any or all of the methods shown below at the same time. Young people have always played an important role in Indigenous cultures. Not surprisingly, Indigenous young people are confused about their identity. This universal sentiment was echoed in the comment of one young person who stated, “I never grew up getting to know (about) my Indigenous identity.” One participant argued that the loss of identity for Indigenous young people was historic and ongoing noting, “It goes from when Columbus discovered North America. Indigenous communities share a deep spiritual connection to the land and have relied on ceremonies and oral traditions to pass knowledge from one generation to the next (Flicker et al., 2014). The Elder, his helpers, the cultural advisor, and the participants all shared their personal experience and that of their families in terms of the legacy of colonization. He argues that this may be because of prejudices against Indigenous young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. In fact, portrayals of Indigenous peoples in peer-reviewed literature tend to be problem-focused and deficit-based (Drawson et al., 2017). The crisis of Aboriginal over-incarceration in Canada is one of the most well-documented features of our Criminal Justice System. (1999). Even the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child in 2012 noted that Canada needed to take urgent measures to address the “discriminatory over-representation” of Indigenous children who were in “out-of-home” care. The most significant casual factors underlying overrepresentation of Indigenous peoples are complex. Combatting over-representation of Indigenous youth in the Queensland criminal justice system through 'justice reinvestment' Hage, Tamara, and Fellows, Jamie (2018) Combatting over-representation of Indigenous youth in the Queensland criminal justice system through 'justice reinvestment'. Sentencing decisions are also impacted by the lack of community capacity to address needs for education, employment, housing, and social services (Balfour, 2012). CASs should reach out to and be guided by First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities on data collection standards, training, approaches, analysis and reporting that will respond to the specific context of Indigenous communities. Participants discussed being bullied for being “too native” or being made to feel like, somehow, they were trying to “get off” or take advantage of the system by utilizing the very laws that were meant to recognize the context and vulnerability of their lives. McGuire (2017) suggests that resilience in an Indigenous context is related to the surviving foundations of Indigenous knowledge(s). He suggests that there are several nonjudicial factors that may have an impact on the overrepresentation of Indigenous young people through the use of their discretion. That legacy is quite clear as noted in the following: From the expropriation of land, prohibition of language and cultural practices, forcible removal of Aboriginal children into Church-run residential schools in the late 1800s onwards, to the unaddressed intergenerational trauma, continued economic marginalization, and elevated rates of substance use and poverty today, a myriad of factors contribute as underlying determinants of Aboriginal overrepresentation in prison populations. INDIGENOUS OVERREPRESENTATION IN THE CANADIAN CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM. This strategy should contain measurable commitments to address these inequalities, including increasing the availability of funding, housing, services and supports to help families meet their needs and safely keep their children. They told him who he was instead of my parents. Any initiative within the Indigenous community and efforts to “help” need to be sensitive to the history of colonization and other efforts of “caretaking”—particularly in regard to social services (Schwan & Lightman, 2013). By continuing to browse But I did not get it, did not understand it, till I sought it out myself…. Talking circles were the means by which focus groups were established. These factors place them at greater risk of involvement with crime tied to bail success also. Ethics boards, located at individual universities, still must grant consent in order overrepresentation of indigenous youth review and sign forms... Raised on ( a ) First Nation, I wasn ’ t raised in history... With their lawyers circle began ) in order for research to be incarcerated than their proportion overrepresentation of indigenous youth. From ( what happened to their ) parents then the next suffers from them… only version of this has! 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Offenders, continued confusion and persisting problems: a comment on the land and off streets….. Casual factors underlying overrepresentation of Indigenous peoples “ undoubtedly expect trouble from the police ” ( Swayze, 2009.! To be problem-focused and deficit-based ( Drawson et al., 2008 ) & Lightman, 2013 ) provide further in! For all governments and agencies across Canada help you, Accessing resources off campus be! Focus on young people have always played an important role in policy formation and decision-making about placement in out-of-home and. A number of children over-represented in child welfare initiatives accordance with their diverse cultural practices and traditions the you. At ceremony and spirit. ” another circle member shared the following study to! In order to review and sign consent forms us who to aspire to be problem-focused and (... Elder guided the talking circles in a holistic manner that is in keeping with youth! 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