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Restorative Justice for Wabanaki People

FullSizeRender_-_3rd_Blog_Piece.jpgWe do not heal in isolation
We need compassionate support

Restorative justice is a way of being that focuses on relations and resolving harm. Restorative justice recognizes and acknowledges harm caused by crime and acts of wrongdoing and provides a different way to deal with the harm that is caused.

Restorative justice is justice that promotes healing.

Our long term vision of restorative justice for Wabanaki people includes education and healing circles that offer safe and supportive space for voices of the victim, the offender and the affected community to be heard.

Our restorative justice journey began in Maine’s prisons where we engage native men and women in healing circles, bringing them together in ceremony to share, listen, learn about trauma, its impact and develop mind management skills that lead to greater healing.

We have also been helping to support sweat lodge ceremonies in the prisons and providing much needed connection to inmates by sharing REACH newsletters by mail and by organizing a very successful prison book drive that collected and distributed to prison libraries over 300 books by and about Native people.

We solicited feedback from inmates about their experience in healing circles and how they have been impacted. The response has been very positive. Overall, inmates report feeling happier, at peace and more mindful since attending circles. They report having gained skills such as breathing, meditation, and conflict resolution that serve them well in prison and will be an asset to them when they return home.

We are fortunate to have an amazing dynamic team of Wabanaki people who lead the circles and are grateful for the relationship we are fostering with the Maine Department of Corrections that enables us to move our restorative justice work forward but we lack resources.

While we seek out funding from foundations and develop collaborative relationships with the Department of Corrections, we need to be able to continue to offer healing circles to inmates in the meantime.

We are sending out an urgent fundraising appeal specifically for restorative justice work. It only costs $600 a month to offer circles in one prison, $3,600 a month for all the prisons.

If you make a donation before September 1, 2016 you will receive a unique REACH gift.

  • $50 Donation – REACH thank you card with a personal sentiment
  • $100 Donation – REACH pin
  • $200 Donation – A set of two postcards by native artist and inmate, James Manley
  • $300 Donation – All three gifts

Please consider making a contribution. Every donation, no matter how small is significant and makes it possible to continue this crucial work.

“Connection is important. Circles allow me to communicate and talk about things like community, how we are going to contribute when we get out, and how to keep our heritage for our children.” ~Native Inmate

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