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The Universality of Peacemaking: A Real Possibility.

Nielsen, Marianne O
June 4, 2015

Source: (2008) International Journal of Restorative Justice. 4(1):37-79.

In response to Goldberg, our argument is that even though the cultural and sacred specifics of the Navajo peacemaking might not be transferable, many of the program‟s structures, practices and values are shared by other peacemaking groups, including some characteristics that are cultural and spiritual. Our argument is based on the fact that Native Americans and Quakers 400 years ago practiced peacemaking and today, still practice peacemaking. We had access to historical data on the Lenape people (pre-1600) and early Quakers in colonial America (pre-1700), and current data on Navajo and Canadian/American Quaker justice practices. The data on the Lenape Indians and early Quakers are particularly significant because these two groups were the first peacemakers recorded in early American records. Based on the characteristics of these four “case studies”, we argue that significant aspects of peacemaking can be found in different cultural settings, and therefore could be transferred into yet more cultural settings. In support of this hope of universality, we look to Zion (1983) who admits that the Navajo consulted Quaker writings when modifying their traditional practices for modern times.
The four examples are analyzed in very general terms for structures, practices and values using concepts from Western-based organizational theory and Indigenous justice paradigms, to identify the transferable and non-transferable aspects of peacemaking. (excerpt)


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