|About the Book|
Peacemaking Circles offers a core understanding of talking Circles, which are Indigenous in origin. The book is inspiring people worldwide to come together in a good way to work out whatever issues they face. Here is what others say about the book:MorePeacemaking Circles offers a core understanding of talking Circles, which are Indigenous in origin. The book is inspiring people worldwide to come together in a good way to work out whatever issues they face. Here is what others say about the book:Vine Deloria, Jr.,Hunkpapa Lakota scholar and authorThe book reminds me of the way that the Plains Indians often settled their disputes. A council would meet and discuss the nature of the problem, or crime, and every one would speak to the issue. Then elders would ponder the problem for a long time—unless it was a particularly heinous crime—and finally a solution would be found. The elders, of course, always sat in a circle to remind people that we are all equals and all participants. I think that format was probably used by most tribal people. I can’t imagine a select group hearing a dispute and then rendering a quick judgment without causing great disruption in the community.The circle eliminates the feeling of institutional coercion and enables people who have been injured to heal themselves and also places the offender in a position where, to keep any sense of personal integrity, he or she has to live up to community standards. Everyone learns from the experience. Contrast that with our procedures today where the family of the injured person gets a chance to curse the offender after the person has been convicted and the family is further encouraged to announce publicly that they have been partially revenged. Here no one learns anything, and the courtroom becomes merely an arena for institutionalized vengeance.Rupert Ross, former Canadian Crown prosecutor and author of Returning to the Teachings: Explorations in Aboriginal JusticePeacemaking Circles may be one of those books that attracts a wider audience than its publishers imagined.On the surface, it describes the use of circle processes in criminal justice, and all three authors are eminently qualified. Barry Stuart was for many years a Judge in the Yukon, pioneering circles as a better way to fashion lasting resolutions for those personal, family and community conflicts that erupt into criminal behavior. Mark Wedge, an Aboriginal educator, healer and community activist from the Yukon, contributed his people’s traditional teachings about the conduct of circles, their potential for bringing out the best in each participant, and their role in re-empowering communities as problem-solvers in their own right. The third author, Kay Pranis of St. Paul, is an internationally recognized trainer in circles who joined Mark and Barry in this shared endeavor, searching for ways to articulate the power of circles to effect relational transformation among parties mired in mistrust and conflict. Together and separately, they have done circle training for justice professionals across the continent.Pranis, Wedge and Stuart have consistently seen circles reach far beyond individual disputes to locate, nourish and engage the deepest generosity, wisdom, and courage of the human beings within them. In fact, their descriptions may well take most readers beyond the physical, mental, and emotional aspects of the dispute, to a place where even the most hard-hearted will start to contemplate the notion of spiritual connection between human beings.Pranis, Stuart and Wedge have been taking circles into industrial, educational and health-care settings as well. To no one’s surprise, they regularly demonstrate an ability to transform “employer-employee relations” just as fundamentally as they transformed “victim-offender relations.” Given the importance of healthy, respectful and supportive relationships in all fields of human endeavor, no one should be surprised if this book achieves a much wider audience than its title suggests.