L to R: Steve Moore, James Botsford, Barbara A. Smith, Phil Bluehouse, Nora Antoine, David Raasch , Diane LeResche
Made possible by a long-term anonymous grant, the mission of the Indigenous Peacemaking Initiative (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. Initial efforts focused on the creation of an information clearinghouse, conducting needs assessment of peacemaker resources, and developing a sustainable business model for the program. A national survey of peacemaking needs in Indian communities was conducted, and approximately 230 survey forms were filled out and returned.
In October 2014, NARF co-sponsored the training, Traditional Peacemaking: Exploring the Intersections Between Tribal Courts and Peacemaking, Including Alternatives to Detention. Materials and videos from that training are available from the National Indian Law Library website.
Examples of recent IPI work includes facilitating a two-site introductory peacemaking training for Oglala Sioux Tribe community members and providing an expert plenary speaker at a University of Washington in a program that trains judges from state and tribal courts. With the National American Indian Court Judges Association and the Columbia and New Mexico Schools of Law, IPI also recently collaborated on a training workshop with Tekamuk Inc (the training business wholly owned and operated by the Mesa Grande Band of Mission Indians). The training was attended by members of the various Minnesota Chippewa tribes, as well as participants from tribes in Arizona, Idaho, South Dakota, and Michigan.
Sadly, former NARF board member Barbara Smith passed away unexpectedly in November 2015. She had served on the Advisory Committee for the Indigenous Peacemaking Initiative since that committee’s inception. Her contributions will be missed by all who knew her. Her personal touch and gentle steering were instrumental in shaping the project as it exists today, and she will live on in that regard