In his bestselling book Dancing with a Ghost, Rupert Ross began his exploration of Aboriginal approaches to justice and the visions of life that shape them. Returning to the Teachings takes this exploration further still.
During a three-year secondment with Justice Canada, Ross travelled from the Yukon to Cape Breton Island, examining—and experiencing—the widespread Aboriginal preference for “peacemaker justice.” In this remarkable book, he invites us to accompany him as he moves past the pain and suffering that grip so many communities and into the exceptional promise of individual, family and community healing that traditional teachings are now restoring to Aboriginal Canada. He shares his confusion, frustrations and delights as Elders and other teachers guide him, in their unique and often puzzling ways, into ancient visions of Creation and our role with it.
Returning to the Teachings is about Aboriginal justice and much more, speaking not only to our minds, but also to our hearts and spirits. Above all, it stands as a search for the values and visions that give life its significance and that any justice system, Aboriginal or otherwise, must serve and respect.
RUPERT ROSS is a retired assistant Crown Attorney for the District of Kenora, Ontario. Starting in 1985, he conducted criminal prosecutions for more than twenty remote Ojibway and Cree First Nations communities in northwestern Ontario. His first book, Dancing with a Ghost, started his exploration of aboriginal visions of existence and became a bestseller. His second book, Returning to the Teachings, was also a bestseller and examined the aboriginal preference for the “peacemaker justice” he observed during a three-year secondment with Justice Canada. Both books were shortlisted for the Gordon Montour Award for the best Canadian non-fiction book on social issues, and are presently used in universities and colleges across North America. Following his retirement, Ross was awarded the prestigious 2011 National Prosecution Award for Humanitarianism, and the Ontario Crown Attorneys Association has created an award named after him. He continues to live just north of Kenora with his wife, Val.