The data from a longitudinal study of seven indigenous justice service organizations in four colonized countries were analyzed to identify the characteristics that made them "indigenous." Although nine common organizational characteristics emerged, of these, four are essential and specific to indigenous organizations (dependency on indigenous stakeholders, incorporation of indigenous values and practices, indigenous organizational governance, and support for indigenous self-determination) and are framed by a fifth (colonial socio-environmental) that is also constitutive but not specific to indigenous organizations. Through their services, values and operations, indigenous organizations are deeply embedded in the reconstruction of the reality of indigenous/non-indigenous relations.

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