Native American Restorative Justice

Uncategorized

Margaux Portron, Research and Communications Associate, Artraker.

On Monday I attended a “home seminar” given by Maria Arpa and organised by curator Marina Wallace. While Maria specialises in interpersonal relations her expertise ranges from gang violence to divorces via business disputes. It was very enlightening and we are now trying to find a way to link this with Artraker’s work.

Maria insisted on “restoring harmony” and is inspired by and trained in non-violent communication as developed by Marshall Rosenberg. A lot of what she talked about, however, echoed my very limited knowledge of Navajo Restorative Justice. Navajos are a native people of America, who have a “horizontal” justice system. Instead of having the figure of the judge enunciating the law and the verdict, “In Native American and First Nation justice philosophy and practice, healing, along with reintegrating individuals into their community, is more important than punishment.”(source: http://www.iirp.edu/article_detail.php?article_id=NDA1) It means that the actions are judged, but not the individuals.

The contemporary language would call “resilience” what Navajos call “healing”: I read in a French magazine that while most native nations would pray for the rain in times of drought, Navajos would pray for the knowledge on how to live without rain (source: Géo, January 2015) and harmony.

“Anglo law is all about rules and principles,” said [James] Zion, whereas in Indian justice the process is very important. Disputes are resolved not by rules but by the idea of relationships.”

(source:http://www.iirp.edu/article_detail.php?article_id=NDA1)

This is another lead for creativity and peacemaking that I would like to explore! There is a lot of spirituality in Navajo peacemaking but do you think its central concepts could be developed for much larger disputes  – as in, trans/international conflicts?

 

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Finding readers in Syria’s lost generation

Short read, Uncategorized

Zoe Lester, graphic designer at Pulse Brands.

Kitabna: Supporting refugee children with stories and education

Education in Lebanon is not free and for the majority of children living in refugee camps it is completely neglected and unattainable. Described in their hundreds of thousands as ‘Syria’s lost generation’ they are lacking the essential development and self-esteem that education can provide.

 

Kitabna writes and illustrates story books that connect culturally with the children and local surroundings. Their first book, لبطيخة العِمْلاقَةْ The Giant Watermelon, was written following visits to camps in the Beqaa Valley, eastern Lebanon, where they were shown a vegetable patch growing two watermelons.

 

The Giant Watermelon

 

The story of Kitabna started back in 2008, when Helen Patuck was teaching English in Bangladesh. The books children were given to learn English from were often second-hand offerings from Western aid agencies and did not reflect the cultural or environmental realities of the children reading them. Taking a few basic ideas, Helen rewrote and illustrated a traditional folk tale about working together towards a common goal: a meal to be shared. She used the names of the children in the school and set the story in their villages. This way, the English tale of The Giant Turnip became the Bangladeshi tale of The Giant Carrot.

 

IMG_4146

 

 

Kitabna’s aims:

 

  • we aim to set warm and fun stories in refugee camps, creating pride and dignity in an environment which is home for these children and will be until the sectarian violence ends.
  • we aim to encourage reading and writing skills in both English and Arabic through the creation of bilingual children’s books.
  • we aim to stimulate imagination and encourage children to help each other create and learn.
  • we aim to develop the children’s storytelling abilities by encouraging them to write their own stories.

 

 

Startling_cover

 

Kitabna have now written five books – the most recent is The Starlings Visit, based around the migrating birds that fly to the deserts of Northern Iraq. This book will be given to displaced children living in Northen Iraq and aims to not only help children with their reading and language skills, but also bridge the cultural gaps faced within this area by including three languages, Sorani Kurdish, formal Arabic and English.

 

The fifth book from the Kitabna project, The Starling’s Visit has been created specifically for the persecuted Yazidi refugees in northern Iraq and is based around the migrating starlings that fly to the deserts of Northern Iraq. Through an initial introduction by Pulse, the Kitabna project has successfully received funding from AMAR – an NGO operating in Iraq and will be distributing these books to children who come from Yazedi, Sunni, Shia Muslim, and Christian communities. The book, available in English, Arabic and Kurdish, intends to promote social cohesion and provide psychosocial support.

 

 


For more information on the Kitabna project and how you can support them you can check their Facebook page, The Kitabna Project, for updates, or visit:

http://www.kitabna.org

If you work with displaced people and would like to order or commission books, please contact Helen on helen.patuck@gmail.com.

 


Zoe Lester is a graphic designer with a strong focus on design to incorporate a social purpose as well as reflect an optimistic future. Over the past four years she has developed a broad approach to design outcomes through illustration, typography, 3D design and spacial design. After studying graphic design at University College Falmouth she has gained four years’ experience supporting clients such as CCP, Artraker, Moneyline, The Hub, Studio Tilt, Active360 and most recently The Kitabna Project.