Current Cases & Projects | Indigenous Peacemaking Initiative
Indigenous Peacemaking Initiative
Attorney: Steve Moore
Made possible by a long-term anonymous grant, the mission of the IPI is to promote and support Native peoples in restoring sustainable peacemaking practices. This project provides NARF with an opportunity to support traditional peacemaking and community building practices as an extension of Indian law and sovereign rights. The project is guided by an Advisory Committee consisting of traditional peacemaking experts and practitioners, including NARF Board member Barbara Smith.
Peacemaking is a community-directed process to develop consensus on a conflict resolution plan that addresses the concerns of all interested parties. The peacemaking process uses traditional rituals such as the group circle, and Clan structures, to involve the parties to a conflict, their supporters, elders and interested community members. Within the circle, people can speak from the heart in a shared search for understanding of the conflict, and together identify the steps necessary to assist in healing all affected parties and to prevent future occurrences and conflicts.
We will accomplish the IPI mission by:
- Promoting Traditional Peacemaking Practices
- Raising awareness about peacemaking practice
- Spotlighting existing programs that have had success with model programs
- Coordinating a Traditional Peacemaking Practices Clearinghouse
- Creating a peacemaking clearinghouse by cataloging codes, manuals, curricula and best practices
- Digitizing all records for easy dissemination
- Creating an anthology of successful programs and individuals within peacemaking
- Convening Traditional Peacemaking Meetings
- Coordinating meetings for a variety of audiences interested in peacemaking
- Tribal Leaders, Tribal Peacemakers, Tribal Judges, Policymakers, Non- Native Peacemakers
- Training and Teaching Opportunities
- Documenting and disseminating best practices
- Development of curriculum, case studies, and tools
- Providing training on various components and techniques of peacemaking
- Mentoring and Nurturing
- Supporting relationships and mentoring between and among individual peacemakers, programs, and communities
Most recently, lead oversight of the project shifted from Steve Moore to Brett Lee Shelton. Both attorneys, along with Barbara Smith and several other IPI Advisory Committee members, have been participating in planning for a national peacemaking gathering, to be held in February, 2014 at the Chickasaw Nation, and co-sponsored by the Chickasaw Nation and the Tribal Judicial Institute at the University of North Dakota. Several Advisory Committee members also did a significant amount of work to ensure that the final report of an Expert Workgroup meeting sponsored jointly by the Departments of the Interior and Justice was more respectful of tribal interests than the original version (which was drafted by non-Indian consultants).
The national peacemaking gathering will offer the project a chance to report back to Tribal representatives the results of the Survey administered in 2011 to tribal justice system employees. The gathering will also be an opportunity to roll out a higher visibility for the project, and preparations are underway to have available information on resources compiled for the project.
Execution of the remainder of the project plan continues as well. NILL staff members Mauda Moran and Anne Lucke have developed a draft web page and started compiling electronic versions of resources. The webpage will serve as a basis for outreach and provide easy access to resources gathered for the project. We continue to gather written resources for sharing with interested tribes, and we have continued identifying and reaching out to tribes that may already have some amount of peacemaking in place.
Indigenous Peacemaking Initiative Advisory Committee:
L to R: Steve Moore, James Botsford, Barbara A. Smith, Phil Bluehouse, Nora Antoine, David Raasch , Diane LeResche
The Advisory Committee consists of traditional peacemaking experts and practitioners, including NARF Board member Barbara Smith. We have focused our initial efforts on the creation of the clearinghouse, conducting needs assessment of peacemaker resources, and developing a sustainable business model for the program. Most recently, we are in the process of analyzing the results of a national survey of peacemaking needs in Indian communities. Approximately 230 survey forms were filled out and returned. Moore and members of the Advisory Committee also continue to discuss ways to increase federal support for indigenous peacemaking systems.