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Robert Yazzie

Chief Justice Emeritus of the Navajo Nation

The Inspirations for the Fund

One of the immediate impulses for the fund was the 2017 Listening Project conducted by the Zehr Institute for Restorative Justice. The goal was to engage a cross section of restorative justice practitioners from different communities—urban, rural, aboriginal, east coast, west coast, Midwest and one Canadian territory—to get a feel for “the state of the state” of restorative justice, primarily in the U.S. Go here to see the project’s report, a one page summary of it, and an article about it.

Then in our first advisory circle meeting in June 2018, we found that many of us working in one of the three fields of restorative justice, transformative justice and indigenous peacemaking are somewhat unaware of the work being done in the other two. We hope that in addition to stimulating grassroots work in all three fields, this fund can help build mutual awareness and cross-fertilization among us all and enhance a movement to address violence and repair harm rooted in community solutions.


Contributors to the Fund


We are particularly grateful to the early believers and first contributors to the grantmaking circle - Open Philanthropy ProjectHeising-Simons FoundationThe Libra Foundation, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Public Welfare Foundation, and anonymous donors. We are equally thankful to the other foundations and individual donors who support this work including the Bia Echo Foundation, Barton Family Fund, Community Investments Fund, Faegan Donor Advised Fund, and the Sobelstein Fund—a donor-advised fund of North Star Fund; as well as to the Tides Foundation for holding the fund.

Please click here for our 2019 Funder Report. 


The name of the fund comes from an article in which Robert Yazzie, then Chief Justice of the Navajo Nation, laid out the major differences between the traditional Navajo system of law and the Anglo-American system.

 "If we say of law that 'life comes from it,' then where there is hurt, there must be healing."

– Robert Yazzie, Chief Justice Emeritus of the Navajo Nation


    Life Comes From It: Navajo Justice Concepts, New Mexico Law Review.

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