The Dynamics of Navajo Peacemaking


This article explains the traditional Navajo justice process using social psychology and Navajo discourse. It identifies the nayee or monster (things that get in the way of a successful life) in disputes in light of cognitive dissonance or the state of tension when a person holds two inconsistent beliefs. It then describes an approach to the excuses people give as a result. The article identifies and discusses the excuses and shows how traditional Navajo process addresses them. It outlines the dynamics of traditional Navajo justice to show that it is a practical means to resolve conflict. It also illustrates how a traditional Indian legal method can be replicated in the new field of restorative justice to better deal with crime, violence, and conflict.

Native Nations
Resource Type

Zion, James. "The Dynamics of Navajo Peacemaking." Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, Vol. 14 No. 1, pp. 58-74. February 1998. Article. (, accessed August 21, 2014)