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 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. 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.
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 planning a national peacemaking gathering, to be held in April 2014 at the Chickasaw Nation, and co-sponsored by the Chickasaw Nation and the Tribal Judicial Institute at the University of North Dakota. The national peacemaking gathering will offer the project a chance to report back to Tribal representatives the results of a 2011 survey of tribal justice system employees. The gathering also will be an opportunity to roll out the project’s new website and resource collection. 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.