Six Nations Peacebuilding Project Building on What Our Ancestors Left for Us…

WHO IS THE SIX NATIONS PEACEBUILDING PROJECT: The focus of this project is to use peacebuilding principles from past and present to re-educate ourselves on how to live peacefully, using the Good Mind instead of violence to resolve disputes, thus ensuring a healthy and safe world for the Seventh Generation. Rick Hill, Suzie Miller, Carmen Thomas Jr., Renee Thomas-Hill, Darren Thomas, Barbara Miller, Jim Doxdtator, and Jane Burning have ties that bind them together to self start this process. WHAT WE WANT TO DO: 1) Examine Ogwehonwe and All Peoples ability to live in harmony and peace by researching and documenting peacebuilding traditions across North America 2) Provide a safe forum for Ogwehonwe to think, discuss and develop tools and processes that build peace as part of a leadership program for youth 3) Listen to, respect and honour the wisdom of the people from all walks in life on important issues and problems within our communities 4) Provide examples of peace as a path for Ogwehonwe to help others, their families, their place of work and within governance & leadership recognizing role models set an example for others to follow 5) Link and network with other Ogwehonwe peacebuilders to support peacebuilding efforts that promote unity and a safer and healthier community WHAT WE HAVE DONE:
1) Researched peacebuilding societies including: Haudenosaunee; Lakota; Mennonite; Quakers; Gandhi & NonViolence; Martin Luther King; Ethnic Diversity 2) Documented and compiled reports on peacebuilding traditions, ethnostress, colonization and moving beyond its effects, healing processes, Indigenous efforts to help society. During the research phase we discovered there are many moral concepts to guide one’s daily living within Haudenosaunee worldview and these concepts are present in our language that continues to live within the hearts of the people. 3) Hosted several community meetings on peacebuilding to test our thinking as part of a community wide effort to engage more people in this project. As part of that process we discovered the following: a) We recognize people within Six Nations knew very little of their ancestry and where their roots lead them. In February 28, 2006 an event in Caledonia, Ontario opened the eyes of a sleeping giant in our community leaving many people that got involved to start asking questions and exploring their identity as Haudenosaunee and how do they fit within the Great Law of Peace that our Haudenosaunee leaders spoke of during negotiations with the federal and provincial governments. b) Many community groups are strong in their beliefs however many individuals within those groups do not want to sit at one table to discuss some hard issues amongst other groups c) In order to understand peace we need to understand anger and violence and how that is used to move our peoples’ agenda within our own and outside of our communities

What We Have Done Cont’d… d) To encourage people to meet we needed meeting locations that were neutral and the environment is safe enough for individuals to share their truth and wisdom e) Many of our people have unresolved grief from the past & present; this is a huge issue requiring people like seers, medicine people, healers, speakers, singers & dancers to help heal the effects of this unresolved grief f) We’ve discovered that theatre and drama role playing experiences help move and teach people to recognize where they are in their lives and that within our community we have lots of talented and gifted people to guide them along their journey. g) Our work will focus on young people with the hope that that change will take affect when they are in leadership when it is their turn to take on that role as community leaders. 4) Developed a position paper and project vision to engage community members and stakeholders to participate. WHAT WE’D LIKE TO DO: 1) Start our own peacebuilding entity to develop a project idea for community members to participate 2) To conduct research on peacebuilding ideas then meet with community members to develop and implement actionable ideas as part of a clear deliberate strategy that seeks to reverse the effects of colonization 3) To offer education and awareness activities such as: a) Community workshops on our own and other peacebuilding traditions b) Develop a Haudenosuanee identity program to help adults and students learn of their roots c) Develop a Peacebuilding education package for local educators to deliver in local schools d) Work with local theatre talent to train people in theatre to lift the minds of community members on building peace e) Create a weblog site to post our research and compilation of resources on peacebuilding 4) Submit your own personal story of healing to our group as a way to show others that change can happen 5) Tell others, including the folks back home about “the vision” and SNPP. WHAT DO YOU WANT US TO DO? 1)

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