2021 Grantees

In 2021, the Life Comes From It advisory circle has chosen more than 40 new projects from among hundreds of applications to receive a grant. More than $3 Million has been granted so far.  We have also made renewed grants to dozens of our previous grantees.

 

This year our grants have been categorized as restorative justice, transformative justice, indigenous peacemaking or land based healing.

 

Indigenous Peacemaking

The Cheyenne Elders Council is dedicated to promoting self-healing from intergenerational trauma through participation in traditional ceremonies, and through sharing the wisdom of tribal elders with younger generations in order to break down the divisions between the Northern and Southern Cheyenne. As far as we know, it was in the early 1700’s when the Cheyenne people first came across the Great Lakes, through Minnesota, and on to the Great Plains. Sweet Medicine was their teacher, and he is the one who convened The Council of 44 Peace Chiefs. These Peace Chiefs were, and still are the servants of the people, providing guidance and support for each new generation.

The Dine Justice Project is fiscally sponsored by the Center of Southwest Culture to support the development of traditional Dine (Navajo) peacemaking. Navajo peacemaking is one of the most renowned restorative justice programs in the world. Neither mediation nor alternative dispute resolution, it has been called a “horizontal system of justice” because all participants are treated as equals with the purpose of preserving ongoing relationships and restoring harmony among involved parties. In peacemaking there is no coercion, and there are no “sides.” No one is labeled the offender or the victim, the plaintiff or the defendant.

Haida Peacemaking This grant supports the development of peacemaking efforts within the Haida Nation, led by Kailljuus (a.k.a. Lisa Lang), the Executive Director, Xaadas Kil Kuyaas Foundation (XKKF), the elected Supreme Court Chief Justice for the Tlingit and Haida Central Council Indian Tribes of Alaska, and the owner of Minority Woman-Owned Business, Lisaverosh Consulting.

Hawai'ian Ho'oponopono This grant is made to support the work of "Aunty" Lynette Kaopuiki Paglinawan, a Hawai'ian elder who teaches the traditional peacemaking system of Ho’oponopono. The traditional Hawaiian practice of ho‘oponopono is considered a form of therapy and is often used to resolve disputes among families.

Ho-Chunk Nation is one of eleven sovereign tribes of Wisconsin. Its Trial Court has taken the lead in developing the Peacemaking initiative through training more than twenty individuals who are knowledgeable and experienced with Ho-Chunk tribal lifeways, good listeners, and problem solvers. These individuals are ready to address problems brought forward by Nation families, government, business, and state, county, or tribal agencies.

Honor the Earth is a 28 year old Indigenous organization based in Pine Point on the White Earth reservation in northern Minnesota. It works nationally in multi-faceted ways on environmental justice, ecological restorative justice and cultural renaissance. This project is about youth and cultural restoration, peacekeeping and conflict resolution, and the restoration of ceremonial healing practices for the Pine Point community, including the return of the Big Drum to Pine Point. This drum was rematriated from the Beloit College museum in 2018 and now awaits a community to bring it back. That entails cultural teachings, well being, songs and ceremony.

The International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers come from the Amazon, the Arctic Circle, Asia, Africa, Mexico and the Northwest, Southwest and Midwest sections of North America, 13 women, ranging from their 60s to their 90s, with dozens of grandchildren among them. They are spiritual activists, medicine women, tribal elders and advocates for sustaining indigenous ways of life. For over 16 years they have worked together tirelessly for peace, respect for nature, conservation and recovery of ancestral traditions, the importance of traditional medicine and the preservation of their cultures, through prayers and spiritual and social action.

The Isleta Tribal Court—the Judicial Branch of Government of the Pueblo of Isleta, New Mexico—is an established peacemaking program that utilizes traditional, culturally relevant approaches to healing families and children who are affected by substance abuse. The court utilizes Peacemakers to provide mediation for adult clients and as knowledge keepers, to share tribal history, stories and cultural connection to the land and community as a way to strengthen identity and self-worth for their tribal youth.

Mississippi Band of Choctaw Ittikana Ikbi 'Peacemaker' Court" is a way to put some of the Choctaw people's traditional way back into their justice system. The purpose of the Choctaw Itti Kana Ikbi Court, also known as Peacemaking, is to provide a forum for the use of traditional Choctaw methods of opposing parties to resolve disputes in a fair, informal, and inexpensive manner. The vision for this work is to provide a forum whereby all individuals who encounter conflict with others may be able to find a peaceful resolution to that conflict and end what may have become a violent confrontation or simply an adverse situation. It is also the vision to bring families back together when adversity among family members, homes have broken up.

Mnamaadiziwin, Inc. "Live in a Good Way"

Mnamaadiziwin, Inc. "Live in a Good Way" is directed by tribal members of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa/Chippewa Indians. Paul Raphael, a Peacemaker in the Tribal Court, and JoAnne Cook, Chief Judge for two tribal communities, are part of a team that developed Peacemaking in the community. They are using this grant to provide Peacemaking education and training for four local groups, native and non-native, who are committed to resolving conflict and building community.

Ma's House & BIPOC Artist Studio Shinnecock Indian artist, Jeremy Dennis, is renovating his grandmother’s house, formerly a cultural center for their people on Long Island, New York, to recreate that mission and serve a wider BIPOC community center as well.

Mikelnguut Umyuaqluki "Remembering the Children" This grant was made to support the indigenous peacemaking work of Elsie Bordeau. She shares, "I am a proud Yup'ik Eskimo from the village of St. Mary's, Alaska. My Yup'ik name is Apugen, after my maternal grandmother. ​I am a trainer with UAA Child Welfare Academy and the President of Arctic Winds Healing Winds, a non-profit. My bachelors's degree is in social work from Carroll College in Helena, Montana, and master of social work from the University of Alaska Anchorage. I am a wife, mom of three, and grandmother of two. I enjoy working with and for my people and strongly believe that all children have the right to grow up in a safe and loving environment."

Native American Cultural Center/Native American Studies

Stanford University’s Native American Cultural Center is collaborating with national tribal Peacemakers, judges, and other community practitioners to build out a peacemaking curriculum and train a cohort of peer Peacemakers at Stanford. Their goal is to bring peacemaking to the academy nationwide, especially critical now that college campuses are struggling with racial injustice and a pandemic that disproportionately impacts communities of color.

Navajo Preparatory School is a tribally controlled grant school located on tribal lands in Farmington, New Mexico. It provides a rigorous college preparatory program aligned with a rich program of Navajo culture and language. While peacemaking has historically been used at Navajo Prep, it needs to be revitalized. With this grant they will conduct research and learn more about the process to make Peacemaking a regular practice on campus. Eventually they would like to utilize Peacemaking practices for resolving conflict throughout the school community with students, parents, staff and faculty.

New Mexico Kids Matter advocates for the safety and health of abused and neglected children in the foster care system by empowering community volunteers to speak up for them. They have a special interest and expertise in advocating for Native American foster children. They are expanding their use of indigenous peacemaking as a tool for active efforts to prevent kids from entering judicial systems.

Oglala Lakota Children's Justice Center (OLCJC) in Pine Ridge, South Dakota, advocates for children who have been afflicted by child abuse and may be placed in the system at no fault of their own. OLCJC is training peace keepers and expanding their use of peace circles in this work, as authorized by the tribal code.

Nibezun This grant is to support the development of Wabankai peacemaking. Nibezun's peacemaking work is dedicated to preserving and promoting all aspects of Mi’kmaq, Passamaquoddy, Penobscot, Maliseet, and Abenaki ceremonies, traditions, customs, and language through practice and education. Nibezun believes that by working with the land and Indigenous cultural traditions, Native peoples can heal themselves and promote healing in their communities. In so doing it becomes possible to heal the greater environment and recreate the symbiotic, reciprocal relationship with our Mother Earth enjoyed by the ancestors of the Wabanaki People.

Pegasus Legal Services for Children provides high quality, free or sliding scale civil legal services to the most vulnerable children and youth in New Mexico. Even with the Indian Children Welfare Act (ICWA), an alarming number of Indian children are still being removed from their families and often their culture. The funding requested here is to develop a network of peacemakers; educate the legal community on peacemaking and have peacemakers available to the court system, as an alternative to the current adversarial system.

Restore Circles has been created by indigenous and Black practitioners of circle to connect circle practitioners to core original teachings and stories to strengthen an understanding of the history of indigenous and people of color's contributions and practices. They are writing a book about the early applications of circle process in the restorative justice field. This is to cast light on the process of appropriation, abuse of power, and erasure of POC contributions to this movement while also codifying original teachings and sound practices for POC practitioners.

The founder of Restoring Peacemaking for Navajo Families is a 24 year old Diné (Navajo) woman born and raised on the Navajo Nation by her maternal grandparents, who taught her traditional Diné values. She is studying law full time at Navajo Technical University and for 5 years has worked with K’é Infoshop to provide mutual aid relief, education, and guidance to facilitate healing and wellbeing of unsheltered Navajo relatives on and off the reservation. She writes, “This work has been preparing me for my life mission. I know I am meant to practice law and peacemaking in the Navajo Nation.” 

Tulalip Tribal Court In 2001 the sovereign government of the Tulalip (pronounced Tuh’-lay-lup) Tribes in Washington State took back their criminal jurisdiction from the state. They are increasingly adopting Indigenous Peacemaking approaches as part of a diversion program for lower levels crimes and to process probation cases—400 active cases.

Zuni Peacemaking - Christy Chapman 

A peacemaker, attorney and sole proprietor born to the A:shiwi (Zuni) people, Chapman is dedicated to bringing back indigenous concepts of peacemaking to her community and beyond, to replace the western adversarial model. She says, “Peacemaking brings creator back to the center in resolving conflict. It places value on our indigenous ways, our traditions, and cultural way of life. Indigenous Peacemaking offers not only a resolution of disputes, but a process toward healing between parties.”

The San Francisco Tlingit & Haida Community Council is a dependent Indian community of the Central Council of Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, a federally recognized Indian tribe. The San Francisco Tlingit & Haida Community Council is committed to providing resources, assistance, and a sense of community to tribal members living in California. They currently have over 900 enrolled members. This grant is to support the development of Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian peacemaking in San Francisco.

The Sovereignty 360 project is leading the development of a national movement around indigenous peacemaking. This work centers on a national annual Indigenous Peacemaking Colloquium begun in 2020. Peacemakers from around the country, and some from abroad represent their own traditions, understandings and insights about a culturally-rooted approach to healing, justice and wellness for tribes, disputants, and all of their relations.

This grant is to support the peacemaking efforts at the The Organized Village of Kake, a federally recognized tribe that serves Tlingit people living in the Kake region. Kake is a small village located on Kuprenof Island in the Alexander Archipelago of southeastern Alaska. The village comprises approximately 14 square miles, 6 of which are ocean. Kake can only be accessed by boat or by plane. The Circle Peacemaking Program was created to address the social ills affecting Kake youth, most notably alcohol abuse and suicide. Using a traditional circle peacemaking approach, the program seeks to address the underlying issues that lead to crime and conflict. Circle peacemaking focuses on healing relationships and preventing further disputes. The Circle Peacemaking Program focuses primarily on cases involving youth, but has expanded to handle adult cases as well. By reintroducing peacemaking in Kake, the program has led to a renewed appreciation for Tlingit culture in the community.

 

Restorative Justice

Arlington County / Restorative Arlington aims to infuse restorative justice and restorative practices throughout the schools, legal system, and community of Arlington County, Virginia. They are committed to building a diverse, antiracist cadre of local restorative justice practitioners in order to embed restorative capacity in the County. To do that, they believe it is important to compensate people to learn to do this work. Many RJ programs in the greater Washington, DC, and Baltimore area rely on volunteers, and so are limited to those with the privilege to be able to volunteer. Restorative Arlington is committed to a restorative justice praxis that recognizes and grapples with issues of racial justice, power, and privilege.

(B)MEN Foundation is an organization for Black men created by Black men. BMEN provides workshops and community support to individuals interested in engaging restorative responses to sexual harm, in addition to utilizing preventive and proactive strategies. They believe that all peacemaking skills available are necessary to build healthy communities of black men. Their organizational focus is Black Men of adult age that live in the Greater Boston Area with a primary focus on Dorchester and Roxbury's black communities. They aim to begin and establish this work in the Boston area before expanding to regional and national spaces.

B.R.E.A.T.H.E. (balanced, restored, empowered, affirmed, transformed, healed, and embodied) is a collective of black and brown womyn and girls committed to developing sacred connections and curating sacred space. Through the use of Peacemaking Circle, which is a Native and African indigenous practice which is profoundly relational, it emphasizes and engages young women in building community, stronger bonds, while also benefiting from sisterhood.

Collective Justice, a survivor-led, anti-violence organization in Seattle, Washington, building toward collective wellness and liberation, is currently a semi-autonomous project incubating at the Public Defender Association. They are building up their capacity to launch their own organization. The grant helps to fund healing circles in South King County for the communities that have been the most impacted by structural oppression and various forms of violence.

Esperanza Academy is a tuition-free independent girls school serving low-income immigrant students from 5th to 8th grade, and providing mentoring for graduates through high school and college. Restorative justice is central to the school, both in its practices and in an ethos of love, joy, transparency and trust. The grant from Life Comes From It helps fund their first full-time restorative justice specialist.

The Get Your Stuff Together (GYST) program is dedicated to helping formerly incarcerated youth and adults who reside in northern White Plains and the river towns of Westchester county, New York. GYST helps parolees connect to their community through employment, workshops, mentorship and case management.

Healing Hearts Restoring Hope works with families (typically three generations) and individuals who have experienced violence and/or homicide of a loved one, in Los Angeles, California. They work with survivors and those who committed these crimes in order to bring about the transformative change based in understanding historical, family, and system cycles of violence, and how this contributes to the incarceration of Black and Brown poor people. They are using the grant funds to pay for staff salaries.

The Midwest Center for School Transformation has been teaching and offering restorative and healing practices in educational reform and youth development spaces for years. They work in schools and with school districts, the MN Department of Education, and in teacher preparation spaces at the University of MN. They need a grant to train a current cohort of 15 youth (who are leading other young people in a healing response to police violence and the death of George Floyd) in restorative practices and empower them to be ambassadors in their school communities.

My Brother's Keeper 617 (MBK617) is a nonprofit based out of Dorchester, created to provide mentoring to young men and boys of color in the Roxbury and Dorchester neighborhoods. It is run by a group of men of color raised in Dorchester, who know both the dark and lovely sides to Boston neighborhoods and came together to make a difference in the community. Everyone there is working for free. They are bringing on a full-time staff person, buying a computer and renting a space for someone to teach a course, taking youth on trips, and holding community events to bring people of different backgrounds together due to massive gentrification in the neighborhood.  They are also expanding their existing youth entrepreneurship program.

In 21 years of collective love and struggle, the poor, unhoused, disabled, Black, Brown, Indigenous leaders and cultural workers at POOR Magazine, and now Homefulness (their poor-people-led residential solution to homelessness), have never called the police. Key to this commitment is their elephant circle, a poor, indigenous people's accountability circle that roots them in the knowledge that any real safety comes from their interdependence. They are putting together a book that records what they have learned, and plan to offer trainings, and to develop a Poor People's Response Team that can respond to harm that happens in encampments without involving the police that could be deadly or lead to incarceration.

The Restorative Justice Partnership began in 2014 as a collaboration between racial justice organizations, teachers’ unions, and educational institutions as a way to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline, which disproportionately impacts students of color. They are doing this by strengthening restorative justice implementation in Denver, CO specifically and using what they learned there to develop free, accessible resources to assist school communities throughout the country.

Shadetree Multicultural Foundation is a Los Angeles based youth mentoring and community development organization serving to support healthy transitions of young people into adult life paths. They create and support rites of passage and self-development initiatives in many communities.

South Carolina Restorative Justice Initiative (SCRJI) South Carolina has an incarceration rate of 754 per 100,000 people, well above the national average. The state’s legacy of slavery and Jim Crow remains ingrained in its institutions and culture. The state is fertile ground for restorative justice but is often ignored by larger actors focusing on places with big metropolitan areas. What has been missing is a support network that can equip providers with the knowledge and resources to confidently begin integrating restorative practices into their own work. SCRJI serves to fill that gap, connecting the already widespread desire with usable tools to make it happen.

The Dispute Resolution Center, building on a 35-year history in Washtenaw and Livingston Counties, Michigan, is acting on a unique opportunity to partner with an incoming Prosecutor who is already working toward creating diversion programs with the center. Together they are executing restorative justice models for juvenile, criminal, and felony offenses. This is a chance for real systemic change and to see the inequities and charges toward African-American men and women decrease.

Drawing on restorative justice models from around the world, the Restorative Center

has led hundreds of restorative justice circles and many trainings across the country since its creation in 2015. A volunteer organization, they are ready to make the jump into a salaried workforce. They are building on their national influence with more conferences, academic lectures, media publications, the creation of a restorative justice law journal and a national Restorative Justice Institute to educate and train the next generation of restorative justice leaders, while serving as a home space for the organization.

We Are Better Together - Warren Daniel Hairston Project was founded and is led by women who have lost loved ones to homicide and/or incarceration. Based in Boston, Massachusetts, the project’s mission is to connect and heal women and girls affected by homicide and incarceration to prevent the cycles of violence and victimization by creating healing circles. They are developing a pilot program to support women engaged in their healing and leadership programming who are formerly incarcerated, and/or have loved ones who are incarcerated, to more effectively navigate and advocate within the criminal legal system.

YES! The ReStorying Justice Jam brings together activists, advocates, academics, storytellers, practitioners, people impacted by the criminal legal system who feel called to transform it. “By sharing our stories with each other, we “restory” the narrative of conflict, wrongdoing, and justice in this country. We create opportunities for self-awareness and self-reflection, community-building, and visioning towards systemic change.”

 

Transformative Justice

The Anti Police-Terror Project is a Black-led, multi-racial, intergenerational coalition that seeks to build a replicable and sustainable model to eradicate police terror in communities of color in West and East Oakland and other communities of the Bay Area. Its project MH First is a cutting-edge new model for non-police response to mental health crisis. The goal of MH First is to interrupt and eliminate the need for law enforcement in mental health crisis first response by providing mobile peer support, de-escalation assistance, and non-punitive and life-affirming interventions, therefore decriminalizing emotional and psychological crises and decreasing the stigma around mental health, substance use, and domestic violence, while also addressing their root causes: white supremacy, capitalism, and colonialism.

Conflict Resolution Institute of Louisiana is a nascent organization founded by diverse, local mediators and restorative justice practitioners that have pioneered transformative conflict resolution programs and processes for the past decade. No other organization in Louisiana provides free conflict resolution services as an alternative to calling the police. Their driving focus is to offer restorative frameworks of conflict resolution. This funding will lay the groundwork for them to hire paid staff for their all-volunteer run organization. The grant will also allow them to begin offering limited services while in the process of garnering sustained support for operations.

Detroit Justice Center By doing an ecosystem scan of restorative justice, transformative justice and peacemaking in the metro Detroit area Amanda Alexander found that practitioners were working in silos, needing connection with each other. In the last year a collective of 30-40 practitioners, community members, returning citizens, lawyers and judges have begun collaborating to promote restorative justice as a means to abolitionist ends. They have a survivor story-telling project, are working with domestic violence shelters on an RJ pilot, and have many ideas in the works.

Families for Justice as Healing is the only organization in Massachusetts led by formerly incarcerated women and directly affected women. The organization's policy priorities are diversion, decriminalization, alternatives to incarceration, dignity for incarcerated women, and preventing new jail and prison construction. They are using the grant “to fund block-by-block organizing and transform harm hubs in neighborhoods with the explicit goal of meeting the needs of the most directly affected Bostonians; interrupting harm and transforming relationships to heal; and stopping the flow of our people into jails and prisons.”

Future Media Now TV is a social media portal focusing on conscious transformation of tribal youth (on and off reservation), near the cities of Taos and Espanola, New Mexico (tribal communities: Santa Clara Pueblo, Ohkay Owingeh, Picuris Pueblo and Taos Pueblo). They are using media to amplify stories about how they are using restorative grief circles, and working to transform interpersonal violence in the context of conquest, colonization and oppressive power dynamics that have shaped understandings of justice.

Reclaiming Our Own Transcendence (RooT) is a Black and Brown, queer, grassroots led initiative in response to sexual and interpersonal violence. In 2017, RooT began offering support to survivors using a transformative justice lens to address acts of harm instead of using punitive measures. Their flagship Healing Cycles of Harm program responds to violence by providing a structured 9-week collective healing and self-accountability experience for people who have caused and have been impacted by interpersonal and sexual harm. They are currently running the 4th and 5th cohorts of the program. The work is in high demand. This grant covered the cost of one cohort.

Virginia Anti-Violence Project works to address and end violence against and within diverse LGBTQ+ populations across Virginia. The organization works to focus on its most marginalized stakeholders while they navigate trauma and their intersections of identity. VAVP believes that those who are most affected by an issue are more appropriate to readily identify challenges, solutions and investments, and hold each other accountable for the outcomes.

Land Based Healing

 

Freedom Farm Azul is dedicated to legacy building and disruption through healing. This farm will provide healers with a platform to host and amplify their offerings throughout the region. This space will offer southern healers to host mindfulness, herbal remedy courses, and post-release transitional spaces for justice impacted community members. They intend to offer educational experiences that tackle an array of subjects. These curated offerings will amplify the impact of our local talent. This social capital activation is a direct act of resistance against structural violence. It is also a crucial element in personal and communal development. This includes providing affordable space for movement organizers to build in peace, without the economic burden "space" can often become. Experience is a key component in perspective-shifting. Freedom Farm Azul will lean on the rich collective memory and history of Alabama to reacquaint themselves with land stewardship and healthy food consumption.

Indigenous Peyote Conservation Initiative conservation effort exists to sustain the spiritual practices of Indigenous Peoples for generations to come; promoting health, well-being, and native cultural revitalization through sovereignty and sustainability of the Sacred Peyote plant and the lands on which it grows. Their core strategy for addressing the peyote crisis in Texas and Mexico is creating land access for ecological harvest (promoting regrowth), re-establishment of plant populations (replanting), and a system of conservation management and distribution (assessments, rancher incentives, & policy), fundamentally tied to indigenous sovereignty.

Menikanaehkem This grant supports the Land Based Healing work at Menīkānaehkem, a grassroots community organization based on the Menominee Reservation in Northeast Wisconsin working to revitalize local communities. The food sovereignty initiative is dedicated to building access to local food and the necessary infrastructure for a farm on the Menominee Reservation. The Menominee have a little known, but long history of agricultural experience and knowledge which led to community sustainability. They are working to reclaim food sovereignty by tackling some of the biggest issues the community faces. Much as a seed requires soil to grow, all their efforts to promote food sovereignty and the revitalization of ancestral foodways are rooted in Menīkānaehkem’s farm.

This grant is going to support the development of Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth (RJOY)'s land-based Ubuntu Healing Center. RJOY interrupts cycles of violence and incarceration by promoting restorative justice practices and policies in schools, communities, and the juvenile justice system. Since 2005, RJOY has been a national thought leader, pioneering race-conscious restorative justice.

Sogorea Te’ Land Trust is an urban Indigenous women-led land trust that facilitates the return of Indigenous land to Indigenous people. Through the practices of rematriation, cultural revitalization, and land restoration, Sogorea Te’ calls on native and non-native peoples to heal and transform the legacies of colonization, genocide, and patriarchy and to do the work our ancestors and future generations are calling us to do. They share, "The loss of land plays out in our every day lives and it shapes how we look at things and how we feel about ourselves. We’ve spent 15 years in the Bay Area doing community organizing in the Indian community. And honestly, all the issues we’re struggling with come down to land. You know, the land was taken and that was such a deep soul wound. The taking of the land, the heart of the people, was the cause of a lot of problems. And I believe that with the land trust, and you know, the land itself, I think that’s really going to help us to find our way back.”- Johnella LaRose, Co-Founder/Director of Sogorea Te’ Land Trust

The Omowale Project, founded in 2020, is an offering in response to the crisis moment of our time. Designed to support BIPOC leaders in fulfilling their lives’ work, The Omowale Project focuses on the healing necessary to create effective personal and professional practices, mindsets, and behaviors that will advance social justice movements with a race equity focus. The heart of the work lies in its unique combination of neuroscience, healing arts, and ancestral wisdom, offered in the framework of their key program: Securing Liberation Through Individual and Collective Healing: A Plan for Self-Nurturance©, which is rooted in rest ritual; followed by a combination of healing modalities and cognitive rewiring techniques.