Justice - Tribal Court System
The St. Theresa Pt. First Nations developed the Tribal Court System 30 years ago and has continued to evolve over the years responding to community concerns over increase in unwanted behaviour, youth crime and delinquency. This program is owned and operated by the members of the community and has been a real asset to the community. The Federal and Provincial gov’t are currently funding the program and more funding is being sought as work and caseloads have increased. We have saved the gov’ts over $2.5 million dollars by handling our own people.
The community is comprised of 75 if not 80 percent of young people with a population of approximately 4000 people. Many of the youth handled by the local justice system over the 30 years now have occupations and some are still on welfare due to lack of work.
We focus on operating our programs towards self-government approaches including this program and apply our jurisdictions without prejudice.
Subject Matter Jurisdiction
Personal Matter Jurisdiction
Territorial Matter Jurisdiction
Some of these jurisdictions are inclusive and some of them are exclusive.
We are in constant consultation with local program and human resources, RCMP, Lawyers and Crown Attorney and Chief and Council. From time to time we will approach the Healing Program, Holistic Program, Elders Initiative, Youth Chief and Council, Pastoral Council, CADA( Community Against Drugs and Alcohol, the local Justice Committee, The Mother of the Year and the Father of the Year who are community elders.
The program is mandated to oversee the well-being of the community in general and ensure that all matters relating to justice is being implemented and enforced. The unwanted behaviour, criminal activities and all Band By-Law infractions is dealt with under this Tribal Court System. All cases are reviewed and subject to case conferences conducted by the justice committee. The justice committee can recommend options on where matters can be dealt with depending on circumstances.
Tribal Court System
Chief and Council
Provincial Court ( Last Resort )
The program deals with both youth and adults under the above procedures and the whole local justice system has full authority and power to deal with crime-related activity. The Chief and Council do not interfere in the process. The community members are aware that most decisions made by whichever process is utilized is final and must be followed.
Referrals coming into the program are made by anyone in the community, RCMP, Nursing Station, Band Constables, Teachers, Band Staff, and even surrounding communities.
Where necessary, banishment has been used and restitutions have been implemented and most dispositions have an educational approach to it and culturally related formulas are the forefront of the program.
3-Justice Committee members
We have the option of utilizing local members for added influence on cases or individuals depending on circumstances.
From time to time First Nations staff are utilized for expert opinion or when their recommendation is of value to the case or situation of a client.
It is the desire of the people that we expand in our functions and operations of our Tribal Court System and maybe go further to process surrounding communities apart from processing transients that come to our community. The 2 gov’ts are aware of this and have indicated that they see no problem in this area.