Thanks for posting this very interesting article! You're right-we probably don't have the time or the attitudes for such a program in our "advanced" (beyond what
--common sense?) Western world societies. But maybe we should. Not without some significant pragmatic applications, of course.
Sure, every culture is different, and exactly
what works for one will not
work, at least not as well, for another. Yet the Hollow Water Band (sounds like a cool name for a rock n roll group!
) model vision & wisdom in seeing that what they were doing wasn't solving their problem, bucking the (buck-)"established" system, and (gasp!
) trying something new. We as a "modern cutting edge" society here in the U.S. have a lot to learn about this.
Like the principle that sometime going "backward" is going forward--as we survivors often find in our own recoveries. It's worth noting that these Qjibway Indians went back to "what had worked so well before" yet had gotten lost or discarded in the rush to "modernization."
Perhaps we in the U.S. need to recover some of our "out-dated" values if we are to recover from the sexual violence we are doing to ourselves. Values like justice, reconciliation, restitution unity & integrity.
Our individualistic culture needs to re-capture the concept of comm-unity & the fact that what one person does affects everyone around him/her. We've become so big & yet so isolated we've forgotten this.
Thus the integrity of our society and of its individual members is dis-integrating. Reconciliation, which requires restitution, is the only real peace we will find. And there is no peace without justice & equity for all.
Incarceration is highly overrated as a rehabilitative deterrent to crime. Prisons often become schools for "expert criminals" who are let back out onto our streets--with a vengeance.
IMHO criminals should not be permitted to hide their shame from society, becuz this sets up isolationism & "us vs them", cutting off chances for reconciliation & healing for all. Which just perpetuates crime & dis-integration.
So having criminals stay in the community could work. But IMHO, only if they
work, to give restitution to their victims & their community. Only under careful supervision, especially in the case of sex offenders. Perhaps a kind of house arrest--monitoring--work release system. And probably with provisions for greater restrictions and even temporary isolation for community safety & concentrated rehabilitation as needed.
I like the emphasis on verbs over nouns, taking action over labeling, the positive focus on a communal & united healing process over isolation leading to further alienation, vengefulness, & more violence.
The latter perhaps seeming like a nice idea: if
we can afford to keep virtually all offenders tightly locked up for life so they cannot get back out to wreak vengeance & dump their bitterness violently back into society. If
we can afford to completely financially
compensate every victim while taking total care of every convict. If
we can afford the loss of what many criminals could offer (pay back) to society if reconciled. If
we can afford the continuing tearing of our community fabric & dis-integration of our society.
Isn't it obvious that we can't?
Our system is overweight & overburdened, but the powerful are getting too fat off the profits to want to give it up. We're all paying the price we cannot afford to pay.
Yet we all go along with this becuz it's easier to put criminals out of sight out of mind than to face them. We might have to face ourselves as well. We might be confronted what we know in our deep in our hearts--there is an often very thin line between "us" & "them." A break here, a buck there, a pat on the back here, a gently restraining arm there.
"Unlike our legal system that pushes for immediate disclosure and refuses treatment to “deniers,” Ojibway healers recognize denial as a normal and expected part of brokenness that, if approached carefully, will diminish over time."
Perhaps we could learn a few things from the Ojibway about denial.
"But for the grace of God there go I"...
May we all walk the healing path together...