Indigenous Peacemaking Initiative

The IPI Advisory Committee

IPI is supported by a long-term anonymous grant and led by an Advisory Committee that consists of traditional peacemaking experts and practitioners.

Advisory Committee Members:

Nora Antoine
Nora Antoine, Ph.D., is an enrolled member of the Sicangu Lakota Oyate and is a faculty member in the Business Management Department at Sinte Gleska University on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota. She has worked with Indigenous peacemaking collaborators throughout the US and with various educational systems, tribal courts, and businesses interested in advancing, integrating, and promoting mediation and/or peacemaking into their systems. Of particular interest is the role of leadership and the integration of cultural values (respect, generosity, bravery and wisdom) and how these values manifest in the organizations they lead.

James Botsford
James Botsford has practiced law exclusively in the area of Indian rights for the past 30 years as Director of Indian Legal Services offices in Nebraska and Wisconsin. He has been involved in tribal court development during much of his career, including the use of Peacemaking in tribal judicial systems. His role has been and continues to be one of support for Peacemakers and the Peacemaking processes in tribal communities. He has been a member of NARF's Peacemaking Advisory Committee since its inception. James retired from the active practice of law in 2012 but continues to serve as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska in addition to writing, travelling, and grandparenting.

Cheryl Fairbanks
Cheryl Demmert Fairbanks works in the area of Indian law as an attorney and tribal court of appeals justice. Her practice and consultation services concentrate on Tribal-State Relations, Personnel, Tribal Courts, Peacemaking (and family conferencing), Mediation, Family, School, Educational, and Indigenous law.  She is a visiting professor of law at the University of New Mexico‚Äôs Southwest Indian Law Clinic. With a B.A. from Fort Lewis College in 1969 and a J.D. in 1987 from the University of New Mexico, she has also been a teacher for the Albuquerque Public Schools, Zia Day School, and Administrator for Acomita Day School and the Santa Fe Indian School. She was a Sr. Policy Analyst in state-tribal relations for the New Mexico Office of Indian Affairs.  She was instrumental in establishing the Indian Child Welfare Desk, New Mexico Office of Indian Tourism, the University of New Mexico Indian Law Clinic, and the passage of the New Mexico Indian Arts and Crafts Act.  She serves, or has served, as a judicial officer for trial and appeals courts for Santa Clara Pueblo, Yavapai Apache, White Earth Band of Chippewa, and Saginaw Band of Chippewa Indians; and currently serves as a Justice for the Inter-Tribal Court of Appeals for Nevada, and is a Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.) Appellate Magistrate. Ms. Fairbanks is a member of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges.  She serves as adjunct faculty for the National Judicial College, Reno, Nevada, and for the University of New Mexico School of Law and is published as a reporter and contributor in several publications. Ms. Fairbanks is Tlingit-Tsimpshian and was born in Ketchikan, Alaska. She is currently Of Counsel to the Cuddy McCarthy Law Firm and was a partner with the law firm of Roth, VanAmberg, Rogers, Ortiz, Fairbanks & Yepa, LLP, where she specialized in Indian law.

Natasha Gourd
Natasha Gourd comes from the Ihanktonwan and Sisitonwan bands of the Mdewakantonawan or Spirit Lake people. She is a mother of three boys and formerly served as the Traditional Court Director of the Wodakota, Traditional Court, at the Spirit Lake Nation. As such, she helped to establish and implement the "Wodakota" Peacemaking Court System for court-affected tribal youth, using tribal elders for cultural guidance. During the creation of this project she was able to spend thousands of hours with tribal elders learning the Dakota traditional values. She secured a three-year grant with the Department of Justice for the program, which continues successfully. She continues to monitor and guide the program in meeting its goals and has trained the seven full-time elders in peacemaking techniques, which they carry on successfully on their own. Natasha has had extensive project management training at the National Judicial College and has completed Advanced Tribal Court Management and Court Development courses as well as extensive courses in peacemaking, restorative justice, and mediation. She is committed to helping address historical trauma and believes in the importance of tradition, language, and culture for healing and to enhance cultural identity. She also is passionate about the importance of tribal elders in this process.

Polly E. Hyslop
Polly E. Hyslop was born and raised in rural Alaska. She is an Upper Tanana Dineh from Northway, Alaska . She is a graduate from UAF with a B.A. in Print Journalism. She recently earned a M.A. degree in Justice Administration and is pursuing a Ph.D. in Indigenous Studies. She spent several years in NYC as a journalist before returning back to Northway in 1995.  While in the Upper Tanana region, she served as a cultural-facilitator for university students, government and private agencies. Her interest is in community-based justice processes in rural Alaska using Peacemaking..

She recently embarked on a documentary featuring Peacemaking Practitioners, Harold and Phil Gatensby of Carcross, Yukon and Mike A. Jackson of Kake, Alaska.

Steve Moore
Steve Moore is a senior staff attorney at the Native American Rights Fund. His work includes water rights, the protection of sacred lands, the repatriation of human remains and the protection of unmarked Native graves, the religious use of peyote by members of the Native American Church, and the religious rights of Native prisoners. He is admitted to practice law in several federal and state courts, courts of appeals, and the United States Supreme Court. He also serves as a member of the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs, and is currently the co-chair of the Advisory Committee to the Indian Law Clinic at the University of Colorado School of Law. He is a 1979 graduate of the University of Colorado School of Law. He is a co-author with K. Heidi Gudgell and Geoffrey Whiting of "The Nez Perce Tribe's Perspective on the Settlement of Its Water Right Claims in the Snake River Basin Adjudication," 42 Idaho Law Review 563 (2006).

Dave Raasch
Chief Judge Michael Petoskey is a Grand Traverse Band member, a licensed Michigan attorney, and a Viet Nam veteran, serving as an infantry medic. Chief Judge Petoskey began his judicial career with the planning, implementation, and development of Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa & Chippewa Indians Tribal Court, while he was a staff attorney for Michigan Indian Legal Services. He was the chief judge for his tribe for over 16 years until his retirement from the position. Chief Judge Petoskey's career interest has been working with newly-reaffirmed tribes to plan, implement, and develop their courts from just a dream. Therefore, he has served in several tribal courts. He served as chief justice of the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians Court of Appeals from 1999 to 2009. He served as an associate justice of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan Court of Appeals from 2002 to 2006. In 2002, he also was appointed as the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi's first chief judge. In 2006, he retired from the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians after nine years service as chief judge. In 1992, the Michigan Bar Journal recognized Judge Petoskey as a Citizen Lawyer for his contributions in law to the tribal community. In 1997, he was named, along with eleven other attorneys, Lawyer of the Year by Michigan Lawyers Weekly, a legal newspaper. In 1999, the Grand Traverse Band Tribal Court was one of sixteen tribal programs nationwide honored as an outstanding example of tribal governance by The Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. In 2000, the American Indian Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan honored Judge Petoskey and Michigan Supreme Court Justice Michael Cavanagh with the section's annual Tecumseh Peacekeeping Award for their leadership in moving State of Michigan courts and tribal courts away from conflict and toward cooperation.

Dave Raasch
Dave Raasch is an enrolled member of the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians. His career in the justice field spans some forty years; beginning as a police officer, 20 years in court administration, plus 13 years as a Tribal Court judge. He recently retired as a Tribal Project Specialist for the National Criminal Justice Training Center (NCJTC) at Fox Valley Technical College where he worked with Native American communities across the United States. His current focus is on “reparative” justice and peacemaking which emphasizes repairing the harm caused by crime rather than merely punishing the offender. It looks at accountability and healing and balancing the “Self.” Even though now retired he remains on the faculty of the National Judicial College in Reno, NV, serves on the Board of Directors for the Tribal Law and Policy Institute in West Hollywood, CA and the Corporate Board for Court Appointed Special Advocates of Brown County. He assisted in the production of Tribal Nations: The Story of Federal Indian Law, which is a 60 minute documentary and is a national speaker on topics of reparative justice, peacemaking and developing cross jurisdictional relationships. Most recently, he was selected to serve on the Tribal Law and Order Act Advisory Committee. Currently David works as an independent consultant and in his free time he enjoys his 5 grandchildren and reading.

Brett Lee Shelton
Brett Lee Shelton
, enrolled Oglala Sioux Tribe, is the staff attorney primarily responsible for the peacemaking project at the Native American Rights Fund. He developed his interest in peacemaking and other alternative dispute resolution while still in law school at Stanford. At that time, he took a Native American Common Law course, which included a unit on Navajo Peacemaking, and an innovative, year-long, highly participatory course in mediation. Professionally, he has pursued his interest in several ways: while a law clerk, he helped establish an alternative dispute resolution program at the San Mateo County Superior Court ( Redwood City, CA); he volunteered at the Boulder (Colorado) Community Mediation Services; and, he assisted the Oglala Sioux Tribal Court implement a mediation training program and an innovative juvenile sentencing diversion program focused on cultural revitalization for troubled youth. In addition to the Indigenous Peacemaking Initiative, his work at NARF includes boarding school healing project work, sacred places protection, and other religious freedom matters. He also has worked in private practice, served Indian Tribes as a policy analyst for the National Indian Health Board, organized grassroot efforts for international indigenous peoples in biotechnology evaluation, and assisted domestic violence victims in civil court on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota and Nebraska (his home reservation). He received his law degree from Stanford University and a Master of Arts from the University of Kansas.

Shawn Watts
Shawn Watts
Shawn Watts is a Citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and is the Associate Director of the Edson Queiroz Foundation Mediation Program at Columbia Law School. Watts won the Jane Marks Murphy Prize for clinical advocacy and was a Strine Fellow while he was a student at Columbia Law School. He developed and teaches a course in Native American Peacemaking. He has mediated in the New York City Civil Court, Harlem Small Claims Court, and the Institute for Mediation and Conflict Resolution, and he has also supervised student mediations in court-related programs in New York City. Prior to serving as the Associate Director of the Edson Queiroz Foundation Mediation Program at Columbia Law School, Watts was an associate in the Finance and Bankruptcy practice group at the New York office of Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP where, in addition to representing both creditors and debtors in multimillion-dollar bankruptcies, he specialized in Federal Indian Law and tribal finance. Watts earned a bachelor of arts from St. John's College in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 2000. He served as the President of the National Native American Law Students Association and was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar while at Columbia Law School. In addition, he was a Managing Editor of Columbia Law School's Journal of Law and Social Problems.

Honorable Robert Yazzie
The Honorable Robert Yazzie is Chief Justice Emeritus of the Navajo Nation and is an international expert and lecturer on customary law, indigenous rights, and traditional governance. Over the past thirty years, he has served as an instructor and consultant at a variety of institutions including the University of New Mexico School of Law, Navajo Technical University, Navajo Nation Department of Justice, and Dine' College. From 1985-1992, Justice Yazzie served as District Judge for the Courts of the Navajo Nation and then as the Chief Justice of the Navajo Nation from 1992-2003. From his experiences, he has written extensively on peacemaking processes and applications including articles on Healing as Justice, Navajo Restorative Justice, Peacemaker Courts and Violence Control Plans, and Navajo Peacemaking: Technology and Traditional Indian Law.


2011 Advisory Committee (l to r): Steve Moore, James Botsford,
Barbara A. Smith, Phil Bluehouse, Nora Antoine, David Raasch , Diane LeResche