Qwi:qwelstóm is the Halq'eméylem word that best describes justice according to the Stó:lo worldview. Qwi:qwelstóm has evolved since time immemorial as a way of relating to others; it focuses on relationships and the inter-connectedness of all living things. As all things are connected, Qwi:qwelstóm seeks balance and harmony. It encourages recognition of Stó:lo ancestors and the path that has been carefully laid out. This encourages us to do things in a "good way." To be kind, respectful and humble, to share and care are but a few of the Stó:lo "laws" that guide Qwi:qwelstóm.
Naturally, this form of justice is quite different from the justice found in the Euro-Canadian criminal justice system. Qwi:qwelstóm is very much about healing; healing individuals, healing families, healing communities. All of which hopefully one day will lend to a healthy, strong Nation. Much of this healing is accomplished during Circle Work. This is hard work for all involved, but a testament to the strength and courage of the Stó:lo people. Elders are vital to the success of our work. They guide the process, advise and pass the teachings that are integral to the reclamation of Stó:lo culture and traditional forms of Stó:lo justice. Qwi:qwelstóm is a means by which the Stó:lo people are asserting their inherent responsibility to be self-determining.