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"History, Strategy and Thinking of the Peacebuilding Initiative Project"
Carmen Thomas Jr. Indigenous Knowledge Centre
October 06, 2011
...............................8 Accomplishments to Date..................................10 Contact Information...............................................................................................7 Peacebuilding Initiative Project...............................................2 Project Overview.................................................................................................................................3 THINKING behind the Project..........................................................3 Research on Peacebuilding Concept.............................................................................10 2 ..........................................................5 Peacebuilding Initiative Strategy...........................8 Next Step: Carrying a New Legacy Forward Meetings..................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................Table of Contents Table of Contents..........
solve our problems collectively. family. The confrontations in Caledonia and Brantford did not help to address the ecological concerns.Project Overview The purpose of this project is to focus on using peacebuilding principles as a way to re-educate ourselves to how we can live peacefully. Community Awareness: work within the community exploring possibilities of peacebuilding in our lives by introducing community peacebuilding workshops. and restore peacefulness and sense of security to our daily lives. clan. we had to develop our internal capacities as peace builders. despite coming together to defend our collective land rights. and psychological matters. It was apparent that if we do not want a lifetime of such failed negotiations. The end result of this work is: • • • • To strengthen our whole being so that we can have healthier relationships with the earth. and walk that path with a Good Mind. and contrasting philosophies toward development. strength and the Good Mind. We propose a three-fold program to introduce and develop a Peacebuilding Program at Six Nations: Research & Development: conduct research and develop applications based on peacebuilding traditions in order to build a network of collaborators that want to support peacebuilding in Grand River and other Haudenosaunee communities. To help our people unburden themselves from the past negative behaviours THINKING behind the Project The Peacebuilding Initiative Project (PIP) grew out of the research conducted on behalf of the Joint Stewardship Board who was searching for ways to bring together Indigenous and Western Ecological knowledge for the sake of more culturally responsive environmental management. Barricades. To be able to argue constructively. always thinking of the need to find personal. To see a path set in place by our ancestors. economic. hunting rights. 3. introducing theatres and arts and to host a future search conference on peacebuilding. More and more splinter groups emerged and the community is more divided than ever. Four years of frustrating negotiations with the federal and provincial government. thus ensuring a healthy and safe world for the Seventh Generation to come. ourselves and each other. 2. helping one another (mentoring). However the issues surrounding such partnerships includes conflicts over land title. By combining the best of our traditions with the current best practices of peacebuilding. jurisdictional authority. Concurrent with these local events the national move to reconcile the abuse of the residential 3 . Internal strife and dissent always weakened the ability of our governments to resolve these matters peacefully. using our minds instead of violence to resolve disputes. seek creative solutions. the ideals of our ancestors will have practical application in helping our people thrive in the peaceful. and frustrating “negotiations with local municipalities added to the overall sense that forward progress was impossible. civil society that was envisioned for us. political. 1. frustrating negotiations with countless developers. treaty rights. police and court actions seemed to be the only avenue. and community fulfillment. We believe the coming faces up to 30 years of age will need both ancient and modern tools for leadership to build a future that’s based on the principles of peace. Skills Development: to develop a model training program that increases our community's capacity to build peace for today and for the coming generations. The recent events also brought forth a jumble of unresolved social. environmental pollution.
We developed a pilot project in conjunction with Six Nations Polytechnic and offered a two-day workshop in Haudenosaunee leadership that focused on ecological strategies.school experience has re-traumatized our community. the course was never offered and we sought to design our own such course at Six Nations. languages. within our families. we then came to realize that our focus cannot be solely on building peace between our community and our neighbors. Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory. However. 4 . Carmen Thomas visited with a variety of people to gain their insights in what we were proposing. To verify this premise. Rick Hill had been discussing strategies with Rev. we need to begin building peace with ourselves. It was if we were being asked to correct five hundreds years of colonization before we could start bridge building to our neighboring communities. by our two principle project managers. NY. such as the Gandhi Center at the University of Rochester. combined with several suicides and a rash of deaths among our youth has further traumatized our community. • In our relations with the colonial states we have experienced a history filled with being denied the freedom and rights as indigenous peoples to achieve self-determination according to our ways. then workshop creative intersections with Haudenosaunee peacebuilding values. This research as well as research done by other Indigenous peoples of the world leads to one root: conflict over land and resources that Indigenous people live on. within our clans and across borders within our community. a Mennonite from Six Nations. We came to realize that we could no longer bury ourselves in our work. We conceived a series of workshops for the community at Six Nations in which we would hear presentations from these peacebuilders. That led to further consultations on peacebuilding with other Mennonites and we prepared our first proposals and position papers on the subject. Along our journey. Adrian Jacobs. the workshop resulted in some new thinking about community capacity building. who have also along history of peace building. They conducted a cultural awareness training for a Circle of Mennonites and the participants discussed ways in which the spiritual communities could work on social justice issues. We could no longer sit silent as domestic violence is on the rise. National Federation for Just Communities Coalition (NFJC). had fallen so far into violence. The scale grew immensely. Looking at our traditions. In conducting our peacebuilding research we came across other agencies which we felt could offer us assistance in our quest. identities. We further discovered: • We have been part of an on-going and deliberate process of being removed from our lands and resources. At first we simply wanted to implement a Haudenosaunee leadership program. We could not isolate ourselves from the inherited dysfunction of our community. we came across the Peacebuilding website of the United Nations and the ideas they put forth had a certain resonance with what we were trying to achieve. In contacting those agencies. We can no longer pretend that we are failing to provide our youth with constructive models of Haudenosaunee life ways. stress. school or homes. Buffalo. Funded by Two Rivers Develop Corporation. Instead. It has only served to peal back the unhealed wounds. cultures have been adversely affected. we could not understand how a culture that has such a strong peace building legacy. The recent murder in the community. People want all kinds of internal issues resolved through local peacebuilding. • We all have common histories filled with external and internal Colonization and. After a series of such local workshops we would then develop a core peacebuilding curriculum whereby we would train young people from Six Nations. traditions and skills. we realized that we had much to learn about other peacebuilding traditions as well as hear more about their best practices. However. Martin Luther King Center for Non-Violence. and disease. One was developed for FNTI. Our first thought was to approach the Mennonites. almost overwhelming.
This way of life continued up to 1850. then our people would do the Edge of the Woods ceremony to prepare the individuals to come and speak to our people. tradition was people built a fire announcing their arrival. we were even more convinced that we finally found the kind of institutional partner we needed to help us make our vision a reality. the clan or extended family has always been the primary social/economic/cultural institution and foundation of the Ogwehonwe way-of-life. We conducted more research and consulted with other Haudenosaunee people who were working on similar strategies. Externally. hear.People raise the issue that unless we help our people life the emotional burdens inflicted by the past. Internally this is known to our people as lateral violence. After meeting his supervisor. The following points are highlights of this paper: • Historically. The legacy of our ancestors was they had protocols (systems) to keep everything in its place. we know the government deliberately forced policies of change upon us because they continue to do this to other nations today. hear and speak the good word so that peace would be always at the core our relationship. It was the colonizer who killed and thought he had to conquer the indigenous population in the name of a religious conquest to enrich the people whom he represented. • • • 5 .The people of Six Nations come from a society that possesses one of the greatest traditions of peacebuilding in North America ever since Deganawidah (The Peacemaker) delivered a message of peace from Shogwaydisoh (Creator). and then it disappeared. The legacy replacing this era was the newcomers. invasion of our homelands leading to a ruthless disruption to our original way of life. who once honoured our treaties and respected our ways. The program he was working with seemed a perfect match to what we had in mind. Research on Peacebuilding Concept The Joint Stewardship Board (Red Hill Valley) sponsored this paper allowing us to study Haudenosaunee and other peacebuilding traditions and the effects of colonization on peacebuilding. This era known to us is called colonialism. Meeting at WLU in Waterloo. Indigenous peacebuilding principles tend to focus on transforming conflict through healing and restoring the Good Mind – our ability to think. we first have to understand the nature of violence in our communities as a tool for social change. Peacebuilding is an ancient Hodinohso:ni tradition. we could not heal the wounds that kept peace a distant dream for most of our people. each with a history of peacebuilding on many different levels. For instance when other nations (newcomers) came to our lands in the early 1600’s. This was done so that when we extended friendship to our new friends we would want them to be able to see. However. many factors contribute to the breakdown of this foundation including 200 years of federal policies/decisions that undermine this all-important institution. speak and act well. We then met Darren and he convinced us of the need to look at what WLU was doing in community-based research. we continue to follow Ögwë'ö:we:ka:' following traditions as handed down from generation to generation along with customary laws that were given to us by Shogwaydisoh. or speak to one another. Living as tribal peoples. Together we hosted our first planning session with a variety of community members. Colonialism has left its mark across the globe in our history as well as every other Indigenous people of the Earth. we were able to get more advice on how to proceed. Next our people would remove burdens he or she would be carrying. One very intriguing proposition resulted: In order to advance peacebuilding. Since 1850 to the present many Indigenous peoples who have experienced contact are oppressing one another almost to the point where no one can see.
Social Justice. We then realized there is a need to get a better idea of how other traditions practice building peace: o Mennonites: for example. If we are striving for Cultural Appropriateness then we are engaged in a process of attempting to add our cultural ways to a pre-existing entity that does not originate from our cultural ways. and Human Rights.• Some of our best philosophers and thinkers suggest we suffer from Ethnostress defined as a prolonged accumulation of negative impacts on people as a result of a systematic. Development. Today. Gender Issues. or low self-esteem. resolve conflicts and strengthen security between groups. Education. The big question we face today is how do we get a group of people together to discuss real hard core issues in the community? We’ve discovered many of the problems are rooted in many differences caused by external forces that slowly eroded and affected our people from being who we are as Indigenous peoples. On top of this. philosophies. The Edge of the Woods. Perhaps it is necessary for the Peacebuilder to be aware of and to understand the thinking of multi-faith based messages of peace. As Jonathan Rabbi once said “we all share parts of the truth” meaning there are many different ways to reach the truth of the matter. • • • • • It is true any Peacebuilder has to know her/his history for that history helps shape the present today. afraid of what others will say if one does or says this in public. Post Conflict. Conflict Transformation. Refugees. If we are Culturally Congruent then the fundamental beliefs. Children/Youth. chose an international strategy that started by practicing peace within their own churches. The suffering shows up as fear. Environment/Land. Diversity Training. The term “Ethnostress” is a complicated study for it clearly shows us how the 6 . Perhaps a few like minded people can begin a process of change from a cultural. lateral violence. When we examined the Peacebuilding industry outside of the community we discovered it predominantly consists of multi-faith based entities promoting their peace message to a selected audience. o Youth Focus: other peacebuilding institutes whose focus was youth included learning programs that combined conflict resolution & diversity training as part of a experiential life-skills program. axiology and sociology of our nation is at the center of everything we are doing. A Community Peacebuilder will require the assistance of a Mentor one who has experience and the know how to assist a learner learning the trade. cosmology. peacebuilding has become an international priority focused on building the capacity to advance peace. Haudenosaunee worldviews encompass many views and some people will argue up and down their view is right. artistic and creative point of view to build a new legacy to carry forward. anger and a sense of hopelessness that often surfaces as negativity. Media/Advocacy. Disarmament. Some of the relevant themes of International Peacebuilding we’ve discovered include: Conflict Management. fear leads the way causing many people to not talk to each other. Condolence and Gawi:yo are still practiced today but only with a small selected group of people. Much discussion is needed on this topic as today’s leadership thinks these ceremonies are to be preserved for Chiefs and Clanmothers. leadership in Oswe:ge Territory (Grand River) is two opposing sides that are at a stalemate with no foreseeable solutions on the horizon. We struggle to understand Cultural Congruency versus Cultural Appropriateness. Instead of good mindedness where one knows his/her place within Creation. methodical persecution by another group of people. The tools of the trade are in the ancient ceremonies that are still practiced by today’s peacebuilding practitioners.
Institutions.community of Six Nations is affected from generations of oppression. healer. education. Our people are safe and embrace the traditions of peace given to us by our ancestors. Community workshops are so needed on this topic as well as many other topics to generate a constructive dialogue on how the past affects the present and how the present can shape the future for the next seven generations. To begin this process we look to the wisdom of the people. Are you one of those individuals is what I have to ask? Discussion on this could be started by looking at the possibilities of securing resources to hire a Coordinator to investigate the following options: 1) 2) 3) 4) Build Capacity of Peacebuilding Initiative Project to become an Organic &Sustainable Coordinate a Peacebuilding Traditions Workshop Series to Raise Awareness: Coordinate a Future Search Conference to Move Forward: Explore Research Opportunities and Program Applications with Peacebuilding as a core Through the concept paper we developed this vision statement for the project: Six Nations is a place of peace. To Build. youth. This concept leads to these questions: How do we get to that point? and What’s really needed for a peacebuilding initiative to begin here in Six Nations? Perhaps a collaborative planning approach within the Six Nations community is what’s needed. titleholders to start with is one way for the community to embrace the concept of peace. To Increase Skills of Community Members to embrace peace in their lives thereby building peace within Self. and Governance & Leadership. How to do that requires more community collaboration. seers. 2. health. men. Peacebuilding Initiative Strategy Based on this concept paper it is the recommendation to this project to explore the need for some type of Peacebuilder initiative here in Grand River. This could lead to a community wide event that encourages people from all walks of life to come together to shed light on the history of peacebuilding according to the Haudenosaunee. 3. This process described above is part of a future search conference that’s defined as: Future Search is a community building process that brings people together to share histories. We have a great tradition to build on. Maintain and Support Relationships amongst one another. woman. overcome conflicts and cynicism and pull together to realize common dreams and build a meaningful and lasting life for themselves. the Family. Future search has helped many communities take control of their futures. Invitations to all sectors: religion. To create a Safe Environment to allow participants to Share their Experiences. understand present realities. During that time we could compile a data bank of personal stories where individuals come to a place of peace which is necessary to help inspire the people that change can happen even in the most challenging of times moment. The principles of this project are: 1. cooperation and a commitment of individuals to continue to work on this initiative. Our vision and work needs to be geared to the re-empowerment of the Ogwehonwe extended family to its proper role and place within the life of the nation. build a vision for a common future and commit to work together to realize shared goals and values. environment. Our people live in harmony under the Everlasting Tree. We also need a new set of skills to accomplish this. 7 .
Completed a Peacebuilding report that we can share that with you. To see a path set in place by our ancestors. using our minds instead of violence to resolve disputes. healer. health. education. The history of the project is important so here is a list of those points: May 2010 Jul 2010 Aug 2010 Peacebuilding Project research was funded in part by Joint Stewardship Board. 1. By combining the best of our traditions with the current best practices of peacebuilding. woman. strength and the Good Mind. To be able to argue constructively. The end result of this work is: • • • • To strengthen our whole being so that we can have healthier relationships with the earth. clan. family. NY. seek creative solutions. men. To help our people unburden themselves from the past negative behaviours. We believe the coming faces will need both ancient and modern tools to rebuild such a future that is based on the principles of peace. ourselves and each other. tasks. NY. youth. 3. seers. Invitations to all sectors: religion. 2. actions and results. always thinking of the need to find personal. We propose a three-fold program to introduce and develop a Peacebuilding Program at Six Nations: Research & Development: conduct research and develop applications based on peacebuilding traditions in order to build a network of collaborators that want to support peacebuilding in Grand River and other Haudenosaunee communities. civil society that was envisioned for us.Peacebuilding Initiative Project The purpose of this project is to focus on using peacebuilding principles as a way to re-educate ourselves to how we can live peacefully. Accomplishments to Date In order to move forward the project has been tracking and documenting important situations. Skills Development: to develop a model training program that increases a community's capacity to build peace for the coming generations. This could lead to a community wide event that encourages people from all walks of life to come together to shed light on the history of peacebuilding according to the Haudenosaunee. and community fulfillment. Developed working relationships with Mennonite Central Committee Ontario.National Federation for Just Communities of Buffalo. thus ensuring a healthy and safe world for the Seventh Generation to come. 8 . Community Centre for Research Learning Action in Waterloo. This report helps explain the broad implications of peacebuilding according to our traditions. and restore peacefulness and sense of security to our daily lives. During that time we could compile a data bank of personal stories where individuals come to a place of peace which is necessary to help inspire the people that change can happen even in the most challenging of times moment. titleholders to start with is one way for the community to embrace the concept of peace. Community Awareness: work within the community to explore possibilities of peacebuilding in our own lives by introducing community workshops on peacebuilding and to host a future search conference to create a future together by working together. environment. solve our problems collectively. and walk that path with a Good Mind. the ideals of our ancestors will have practical application in helping our people thrive in the peaceful. Gandhi Institute of Rochester. Perhaps a collaborative planning approach within the Six Nations community is what’s needed.
Planning a community meeting to present findings from Peacebuilding Traditions paper and to begin dialogue on putting ACTionable Principles & Values for future activities in the community. Community workshop “Carrying a New Legacy Forward” hosted at SN Polytech on August 23rd. Developing a strategy to reverse the effects of colonialism and supporting these efforts with community based research methodologies and project evaluation skills. examine more discussion topics and to look at developing a Decolonizing Strategy. project evaluation.workshops to gain feedback from community Phase II: Development of Curriculum . History of Grand River and its importance to building the identity of individuals. Securing resources to host a series of workshops on peacebuilding traditions in the Six Nations community in the Fall 2011. Oct 2010 Nov 2010 Hosted a Stakeholder's Meeting at CCRLA on November 12. A number of activities were highlighted but more importantly the group agreed a vision is needed for the community to support the project and its future. and other areas.Sept 2010 Oct 2010 Oct 2010 Peacebuilding project approached Two Rivers Community Development Centre to provide administrative support and to build our capacity to become an institute. 9 Apr 2011 June 22/23 July 2011 Aug 2011 Sept 8 . Secured funds from Ontario Power Generation under capacity building initiatives to assist with further research and to host a community workshop on peace building. Exploring partnership opportunities with higher learning institutes to assist the project in areas of community based participatory research. Lifting one another up as Leaders. Heroes and Mentors for the next generation to see. guest speakers. workshop facilitation. Jan 2011 Feb 2011 Mar 2011 New project sponsor Six Nations Polytechnic's Indigenous Knowledge Centre to facilitate the project's development. Highlights of meeting include: Violence as a motivator of social change vs Peace as a motivator of social change. Meeting was cancelled due to schedule and people conflicts. Two Rivers and CCRLA submitted a proposal (under review) to Citizenship. Project based on 3 phases: Phase I: Community Consultation . Immigration Canada's "Inter-Action Fund". future search conference planning. Small group met to discuss project and to commit to organizing a workshop for Six Nations youth. seek their input on the possibilities of peace here in Grand River. Joint Stewardship Board. research project in partnership with CCRLA. 2010. Met with Mennonite Central Committee of Ontario to present peacebuilding concept. Held a focus group amongst core support group to discuss options on how to move project forward. Participants are to bring three (3) recruits to share information on project. Results include continue host meetings.develop Youth Bundling Programs Phase III: Implement and Evaluation of Training Programs. Met with Darren Thomas and Terry Mitchell of Wilfrid Laurier University’s Centre for Community Research Learning and Action (CCRLA) to lend the project and Six Nations community a new expertise in community based participatory research and project evaluation skills.
A small group of core supporters invited young people to attend workshop to raise their awareness of peace building while seeking more supporters for the project. As well we are distributing a questionnaire to assist us in the design of workshops. We have compiled many resources on the topic of peacebuilding traditions from an Indigenous and Non-Indigenous perspective and colonization. We have discovered peacebuilding happens on four (4) levels: i) Individual. ii) Family. 10 . iv) Governance & Leadership. to see how you can help the Peacebuilding Initiative Project at Deyohahá:ge: (Indigenous Knowledge Centre) Six Nations Polytechnic at (519) 445-0023. we asked participants the following: (i) (ii) How can we move this project forward in our community? How can we empower people to care enough to take ACTion to bring peace into their lives and their family’s lives? (iii) What needs to change in order to restore peace? (iv) How can we make these changes? (v) What are the next steps toward building peace? Contact Information Contact Rick Hill or Carmen Thomas Jr.Notes: The project the project has conducted research on Haudenosaunee peacebuilding and other traditions. To help project to move forward. Next Step: Carrying a New Legacy Forward Meetings A capacity building workshop to bridge Haudenosaunee ancient knowledge of Peacebuilding into modern times to help the Youth of today. This information available for your review upon request at Deyohahá:ge:. iii) Institutional.
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