Safeguarding our inherent rights and ceremonial teachings, and instilling those beliefs into policy frameworks that will help shape the future of Onion Lake are some of the goals for Native Justice Inc.
Some of the department’s recent success include:
- 25 years recognition for the OLCN Community Justice Program Native Justice Forum held on March 16, 2017.
- Began discussions with the crown prosecutor, federal crown prosecutor, parole, adult probations and youth probations on a drug strategy and community mediation.
- Purchased a database to collect program data for year-end progress updates and to enhance service delivery.
- Created a map with land locations and house numbers.
These accomplishments speak volumes for the organizations mission statement: Working together, protecting our well being through commitment to protecting our sovereignty, restoring the roles and responsibilities of individual members of wahkotowin, education, teaching with both men and women about living harmoniously and being role models.
Onion Lake Native Justice now looks towards the future, and has the following mandate moving forward:
- The organization is committed to implementing Nehiyaw Laws, culture and language into program planning and service delivery. One of the core businesses of Native Justice’s five-year business plan is Cree Law and the Land. The purpose of which is to ensure Cree or Nehiyaw Laws are implemented in accordance with the laws of creation that includes the treatment of Mother Earth.
- Elders are primary sources who provide guidance knowledge, advice and support in identifying Kotawinaw Wiyasiwewina with proper protocol and ceremonies to protect the sacredness of Kicetahkwaki Kotawinaw Wiyasiwewina.
- Native Justice will reawaken Nehiyaw Law through research and curriculum development. These laws will train and educate OLCN members to live and act in accordance with Nehiyaw Laws, and successful implementation of will improve members’ self-identity, pride, love, care and respect for each other.
- A second core business of Native Justice’s five-year plan relates to the development of an alternate justice system based on the Creator’s Laws. The purpose of which is to develop and implement judicial programs and dispute-resolution services for Onion Lake chief and council, administration, membership and other internal agencies.
- These are just a few of the ventures Onion Lake Native Justice Inc. hopes to complete with the following year:
- Complete the draft of the Native Justice Business Plan and Native Justice Personnel Policy Manual.
- Legislative process with OLCN Treaty Governance.
- Research, design and planning of OLCN Justice System.
- Ongoing codification of OLCN laws.
- Work with families in Onion Lake who have lost loved ones to murder, and ensure proper updates and information regarding Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) Inquiry are provided.
- Assist OLCN Treaty Governance in bringing more ceremonies back into the community.
- Community Mediation Policies and Procedures.
- Dog by-law and any other Band by-laws.
There are many challenges facing Onion Lake Native Justice, however, as the organization lacks the financial and human resources to do the research on Nehiyaw Laws required to further develop and design a justice system for implementation. There is also a shortage in legal and political support facing the organization. Despite these difficulties Onion Lake Native Justice continues to work hard in implementing the following programs:
- Community mediation: aimed at improving communication between disputants and to help the parties reach an agreement.
- Court-worker program: delivers services to one court point – Onion Lake – to both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people involved in the court system.
- Fine-option program: an alternative to those who cannot meet the fines levied upon them by the court.
- Youth-prevention program: provides intensive supervision for medium to high-risk young offenders to assist them with successful completion of probation or as a support for those in custody.
- Reintegration program: developed to provide Aboriginal communities a greater role in planning for the institutional release of membership back into their communities.
- Alternative-measures program: emphasizes on the offender taking responsibility for their actions, and also promoting empathy for the victim(s) reparation and prevention of future harm.
- Youth justice committee: offers young people a place in the community to address justice issues within our nation among other youth. (Program is on hold until further notice).
- Hub committee: a collaboration between various departments in an effort to proactively address issues that are identified as a crisis with an elevated level of risk.
- Drug strategy: an all-inclusive approach for Onion Lake First Nation based on prevention, harm reduction, treatment and enforcement. The foundation is based on cultural, customary and natural laws.