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WORKSHOP: “Cultural Intervention as Alternative Juvenile Justice and Prevention”

IPI will be at the National Association of Community and Restorative Justice conference in June.  This workshop will address the following objectives:

  1. Community-based circles with juvenile offenders can be used as a diversion for minor offenses, clearing their record and preventing a snowball effect of repeated offenses.
  2. Coordinated efforts within the community required to get started
  3. Which offenses, and sorts of offenders, are most suitable for such intervention?
  4. What impacts the process has been found to have on the offenders

Workshop Description:

This team of presenters works in Indian communities to bring various cultural components, such as drumming, community meals, and talking circles, as a form of intervention and prevention. They have found that, by building community and supporting cultural identity, they can help support sobriety and help those struggling with grief issues that are result of the opioid epidemic. Creating a safe location/place, consistent with open doors, breaks down barriers. During these cultural gathering drumming is a teaching tool with which participants learn what songs are meant for what purpose. Talking circles give people the opportunity to express their feelings. The work is guided by the words of an Anishnabe elder: “if you don’t continue with ceremony something else moves in”. The something else that moves in is the drugs and alcohol, which then allows crime to enter shortly afterwards.

Regular participants feel good about hearing the drum or singing on the drum, they express their gratitude for having something culturally appropriate that feels good and they look forward to this being available weekly. Discussion for how such practices might be appropriately modeled in other communities will be included.

Presenters of this workshop include: Hon. Laurie Vilas and Terry Kemper