Nation-Based Sovereign-Based Government

Lessons from Manitoba FASD Court in Winnipeg

April 23, 2021

The Peacemaking Circle is currently undertaking research to assist in conceptualizing all of the Peacemaking Circles, including the Loon Circle, which has potential to serve as a Treaty 2 Court system. Part of this process includes reviewing existing Court systems in Manitoba. This gives us ideas on how we may navigate jurisdiction and implementation.

Manitoba introduced an FASD docket for youth and adults up to age 25 who have an FASD diagnosis. The FASD docket is closely connected to the FASD Justice Program. The FASD Justice Program receives referrals for youth and adults who would benefit from an FASD assessment, or to work with individuals who have an existing diagnosis. FASD JP coordinators will facilitate FASD assessments, advocate and support their participants in Court, interpret assessments and offer recommendations for interventions. One of the goals of the FASD Court is to offer an environment that is responsive to the needs of a person with FASD; for example, lights dimmed, quieter, less stimulation. Participants are able to bring supports and community members to participate in the Court process as well.

Participants of the FASD Court must live in Winnipeg, have an FASD diagnosis, be pending charges, and who plead/or are found guilty. Dispositions are intended to consider the individual’s needs and deficits. For some, this may look like a community disposition over a custody sentence, unsupervised Probation, Community Service, or the implementation of particular FASD specific interventions, for example.

FNT2T will engage the Nations to reveal a vision for the Loon circle that will meet the needs of Treaty 2 people. Like FASD JP Coordinators, FNT2T will have Peacemakers in each Nation to support those who come to the circle. Instead of punishment, our circle will focus on balance and healing and be personal to the individual and those involved.

We are looking forward to engaging with all the Nations in the coming weeks and months.


Written for FNT2T,

By Jennifer Meixner


Last modified: April 23, 2021

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