Peacemaking News

A Mexican Indigenous Community Finds Its Own Way

A Mexican Indigenous Community Finds Its Own Way Dispute resolution and many other functions of government are handled on a radically local level in this Mexican indigenous community.  Not that long ago, community members fought  to reestablish their rights to govern themselves, free from the colonial and cartel forces that have previously taken them for granted. Read more about their community at the Truth Out website.

Exit, Pursued By a Bear: Why Peacemaking Makes Sense in State Court Justice Systems

Exit, Pursued By a Bear: Why Peacemaking Makes Sense in State Court Justice Systems Michigan Judge Timothy Connors advocates peacemaking as an alternative path because “it works,” explaining that this alternative path for state courts helps them live up to their public responsibility to help heal controversy.  The article includes reference to the NARF Indigenous Peacemaking Initiative as well as two advisory committee members – Shawn Watts and Cheryl Fairbanks.  Judge Connors maintains that, as… Read More »Exit, Pursued By a Bear: Why Peacemaking Makes Sense in State Court Justice Systems

The Indigenous Practice That Is Transforming the Adversarial Process

The Indigenous Practice That Is Transforming the Adversarial Process A brief but comprehensive read from The Judges’ Journal  providing background in several areas.  First, the author recounts the historical origins of use of circles for justice practices and describes the Kake, Alaska, practice of using circles – Grief Circles, Peacemaking Circles, Suicide Prevention Circles, Celebration Circles, and Sentencing Circles to name a few.  Next, the article summarizes how a circle process works provides an overview… Read More »The Indigenous Practice That Is Transforming the Adversarial Process

Michigan’s Tribal State Federal Judicial Forum – Attempting Great Things

Michigan’s Tribal State Federal Judicial Forum – Attempting Great Things Michigan Supreme Court Justice Bridget McCormack explains how Michigan’s tribal , state , and federal courts have created a unique partnership regarding tribal children and families—drawing on their shared goals of ensuring the proper administration of justice within their jurisdictions, resolving disputes in a manner that will be respected and enforced across jurisdictional lines, and serving the children, families, and communities whose welfare depends on… Read More »Michigan’s Tribal State Federal Judicial Forum – Attempting Great Things

SAMHSA Is Accepting Applications for 2017 Grants

SAMHSA Is Accepting Applications for 2017 Grants The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is accepting applications for fiscal year 2017 Grants to Expand Substance Abuse Treatment Capacity in Adult Treatment Drug Courts and Adult Tribal Healing to Wellness Courts. Up to $54.6 million in funding is available over the course of three years. APPLICATION DUE DATE: December 12, 2016 by 11:59 pm Eastern time. Applications must be received by the due date… Read More »SAMHSA Is Accepting Applications for 2017 Grants

Washtenaw County Peacemaking Court Evaluation of Implementing Peacemaking in a Non-Tribal Court System

Washtenaw County Peacemaking Court Evaluation of Implementing Peacemaking in a Non-Tribal Court System Peacemaking and Parent Partners Evaluation (2016) Evaluation of the Washtenaw County (Michigan) Peacemaking Court, which incorporated peacemaking within their court in the fall of 2013.  The program’s goal is to increase satisfaction of litigants and improve public trust in justice.  Since the inception of the peacemaking court, over 40 peacemaking facilitators have been trained.  Trained peacemakers now co-facilitate cases and are using… Read More »Washtenaw County Peacemaking Court Evaluation of Implementing Peacemaking in a Non-Tribal Court System

Kenaitze Indian Tribe seal

Alaska’s First Joint State-Tribal Wellness Court Officially Established

Alaska’s First Joint State-Tribal Wellness Court Officially Established The Kenaitze Indian Tribe has officially entered a historic government-to-government partnership with the Alaska Court System, signing an agreement to create a joint-jurisdiction state-tribal therapeutic court that will serve people across the central Kenai Peninsula later this year. Representatives of the tribe, state court and the Office of the Attorney General signed the agreement Thursday afternoon in Courtroom 203 of the Rabinowitz Courthouse in downtown Fairbanks. The… Read More »Alaska’s First Joint State-Tribal Wellness Court Officially Established

A Framework for Understanding Tribal Courts and the Application of Fundamental Law

A Framework for Understanding Tribal Courts and the Application of Fundamental Law Through an examination of scholarly articles, this paperdiscusses traditional tribal justice systems set in tribal communities. This effort establishes a framework for  understanding tribal courts and the unique challenges they face.Read the full scholarly article by April L. Wilkinson in Volume 15 of the Tribal Law Journal at the University of New Mexico Law School website.

Report on Holistic and Traditional Justice Roundtable

Report on Holistic and Traditional Justice Roundtable This publication provides a detailed description of the “Holistic & Traditional Justice Roundtable” held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on November 13, 2015 (see Appendix B). More than 24 Indian Law experts attended the Roundtable and participated in a full day discussion, which yielded considerable insights on holistic and traditional justice. Among the attendees were tribal court judges, tribal supreme court and appellate justices, legal aid attorneys, nonprofit staff… Read More »Report on Holistic and Traditional Justice Roundtable

Tlingit & Haida: Tribal youth court could launch in a few weeks

Tlingit & Haida: Tribal youth court could launch in a few weeks About 30 tribal officials and community members recently discussed ways to get a new youth court up and running in Juneau. It’s an opt-in program for youth tribal members in Southeast Alaska that’s an alternative to the regular justice system. Read the full story at the KTOO Public Media website.

Restorative Justice Returning to Tulalip Courthouse

Restorative Justice Returning to Tulalip Courthouse What’s the surefire way to stop a behavior? Punish it, right? From schools, to workplaces, animal training to penitentiaries we see examples everywhere. Obviously, punishment works or we wouldn’t keep doing it. Except, in some cases, common wisdom is entirely wrong. Punishment doesn’t work, as evidenced by the number of repeat offenders in jails and prisons across the country. Read the full article (from March 2016) at the Tulalip… Read More »Restorative Justice Returning to Tulalip Courthouse

There Is Hope: Time to Follow an Indigenous Model for Peace in America

There Is Hope: Time to Follow an Indigenous Model for Peace in America I’m a disciple of John Mohawk, a dearly departed Seneca philosopher and professor.  He introduced me to the Great Law, a model for peacemaking and peacekeeping amongst warring nations—communities where there is a genuine divide.  I’m simply going to quote his 2004 take on the Great Law from “The Warriors Who Turned To Peace” and hopefully start a conversation about how we… Read More »There Is Hope: Time to Follow an Indigenous Model for Peace in America

New tribal court programs aim to reduce recidivism

New tribal court programs aim to reduce recidivism   Two new tribal court programs are getting off the ground at Central Council Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska. They’re focused on reducing recidivism. It’s part of a larger conversation to identify what’s holding some people back from reaching their potential. Namely, things such as childhood trauma, unstable home lives and a disconnect from culture. Read the full May 19, 2016, article at the KTOO Public Media… Read More »New tribal court programs aim to reduce recidivism

DWI court’s treatment program promotes Native culture

DWI court’s treatment program promotes Native culture   ALBUQUERQUE — Inside the busiest courthouse in New Mexico, Arnett Tafoya stood in the same courtroom where he had appeared numerous times after being charged last year with drunken driving. This time, things were different. There was cake on a table, and Bernalillo County Judge Maria Dominguez praised Tafoya for completing a regimented, court-run treatment program called the Urban Native American Healing to Wellness Court — the… Read More »DWI court’s treatment program promotes Native culture

New joint tribal-state court established

New joint tribal-state court established   For the first time in Alaska, there will be a joint tribal-state court. A Kenaitze tribal judge will sit side-by-side with a state judge and have equal say in decisions. It will be a wellness court that hears criminal cases involving substance abuse, and will start taking up to 20 participants in March. Currently, tribal courts only have jurisdiction over civil matters, like adoptions, divorces, domestic violence petitions, and… Read More »New joint tribal-state court established

Tribal courts have lessons for children’s courts, judges’ panel says

Tribal courts have lessons for children’s courts, judges’ panel says   SANTA FE, N.M. — Peacemaking practices used in indigenous American cultures can have a place in courts dealing with child abuse and neglect within tribes and in nontribal courts, says a new national panel that includes two local judges. Read the full September 4, 2015, article at the Albuquerque Journal website.

When Justice Doesn’t Work: A NARF Attorney on Restoring the Circle

When Justice Doesn’t Work: A NARF Attorney on Restoring the Circle Most Americans can turn to the courts for remedies to injustice. However, the mainstream justice system may not provide comfortable solutions, and sometimes isn’t even available, for Native people, said Brett Lee Shelton, an Oglala Lakota attorney with the Native American Rights Fund, a nonprofit law firm that has defended the rights of Indians and tribes for 45 years. Read the full May 29,… Read More »When Justice Doesn’t Work: A NARF Attorney on Restoring the Circle

Funding Opportunity: Safety and Justice Challenge (March 2015)

Funding Opportunity: Safety and Justice Challenge (March 2015)   (FUNDING OPPORTUNITY)DUE DATE: March 31, 2015 The MacArthur Foundation has announced a five-year $75 million investment in a major new initiative called the Safety and Justice Challenge, to address over-incarceration by changing the way America thinks about and uses jails.   Core to the Challenge is a competition that will fund 20 jurisdictions working to reduce incarceration and improve the way their local criminal justice systems… Read More »Funding Opportunity: Safety and Justice Challenge (March 2015)

Natick peace-making circle aims to resolve racial tensions

Natick Peace-making Circle Aims to Resolve Racial Tensions   Looking for a way to resolve the racial tensions in their own towns and beyond, around 25 people attended a peace-making circle at the Common Street Community Church Saturday afternoon. The exercise, according to leader Michelle Cromwell, is a “powerful mixture, elixir” of Native American tradition and more modern conflict resolution methods, and is intended to get participants to open up about their thoughts, fears and… Read More »Natick peace-making circle aims to resolve racial tensions

Lac du Flambeau Tribe is banishing people as anti-drug strategy

Lac du Flambeau Tribe is Banishing People as Anti-drug Strategy The Lac du Flambeau Tribe is meeting the challenge of drug abuse on its reservation with sentencing alternatives based on tribal tradition. This article discusses two of those, banishment and a Zaagiibagaa Healing to Wellness Court, as innovative ways to help foster healing and reduce crime. Learn more from the September 5, 2014, article at the Northlands News Center website.