Qwí:qwelstóm Justice Program

Qwí:qwelstóm reflects a “way of life” that incorporates balance and harmony -- a way of helping one another to survive and to care and share amongst all people; a form of justice that focuses on relationships and the interconnectedness of all living life. Qwí:qwelstóm Justice Workers and  Qwí:qwelstóm Wellness Workers now work with people involved in the criminal justice system and/or people who need support with their journey towards a balance of emotional, spiritual, physical, and mental wellbeing.

About Qwí:qwelstóm Justice

Traditionally, justice for Stó:lō meant living harmoniously with others; justice was centered upon relations with all living life. When relations became disrupted, Si:yam would gather the people together and decide how best to restore the balance to the relationship. Harmony would be restored through the use and belief in two fundamental principles: Respect and Teachings.

The Elders and Si:yam would talk to the individuals and re-establish his / her responsibility to live in a good way. This traditional view of justice was based on the following principles:

  • Consensus decision making
  • The interrelatedness of all things
  • Sense of belonging and connection to family and community

How Qwí:qwelstóm Justice Works

Referrals to Qwí:qwelstóm Justice can be made one of five sources:

  1. Self referrals
  2. Community agencies (i.e. Crown Counsel, Ministry and Family Service, etc)
  3. RCMP
  4. The Courts
  5. Fisheries

In order for a referral to be accepted:

  1. The person who has done the harm must be willing to take responsibility for his / her actions.
  2. The person(s) harmed must be kept fully informed of the process and invited to participate.
  3. Qwí:qwelstóm Justice accepts referrals from all Stó:lō Nation Bands and First Nations living in Stó:lō Territory, from other areas in B.C. and from other provinces.