Circle Peacemaking, Circle Sentencing, Talking Circles, Community Conferences are terms used to describe restorative processes where people talk together to resolve conflicts, mediate harm, support healing and self-understanding or promote healthy communication in a manner aligned with community values. As a tool, the “Circle” can be used for a variety of purposes and adapted to many circumstances. Among other uses engaging Alaska Native youth, Circle Peacemaking can divert youth offenders from the state justice system or support youth in school-based and other community settings. A circle can involve supporters, elders, peers or family and community members. Within the circle, people are encouraged to speak from the heart, listen deeply and identify and agree upon steps for restoring relationships harmed by a conflict, support personal healing or to connect and communicate with each other in a good way.
This page lists a collection of circle peacemaking resources or other restorative practice/restorative justice tools that may be useful to providers working with Alaska Native youth. Suggestions and contributions are welcome. Contact us here >>
Coming Soon: Directory of Circle Practitioners and Advocates in Alaska
Resources for Practitioners:
KIT Tribal Circle Handbook
The Kenaitze Indian Tribe developed a handbook as a general guide to the process followed for Tribal Circles as conducted in Kenai. The Tribal Circle process is responsive and preventive, reactive and proactive, as it uses painful situations to identify areas of need and to strengthen relationships. This comprehensive handbook details role of participants, Diversion agreements, stages of Circle gatherings, forms, resources and more.
Kake Circle Peacemaking Handbook
The Kake Circle Peacemaking Program incorporates Tlingit culture into the justice system in the Organized Village of Kake, Alaska. 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. This manual was created in collaboration with the Organized Village of Kake Peacekeepers and the Alaska Native Justice Center with support from the USDOJ.
Publications & Media Coverage:
Circle Peacemaking – Lisa Reiger, 2001. Alaska Justice Forum.
Restorative Justice in Rural Alaska – Polly Hyslop, 2012. Alaska Journal of Dispute Resolution
Justice for All An Indigenous Community-Based Approach to Restorative Justice in Alaska – Brian Jarrett and Polly Hyslop, 2014.
Working with Government:
Rural Community Diversion MOU – August 2017, Alaska Division of Juvenile Justice