For some time my friend Tom Porter has urged me to read Rupert Ross’s, Returning to the Teachings: Exploring Aboriginal Justice (Penguin, 1996, 2006). I just finished it with the question, why didn’t I get to this book sooner? Tom is Director of JustPeace, the United Methodist organization for mediation and conflict transformation. This is the best book I have read on Native American roots of a restorative approach to seeking healing and justice in our communities. It fills out the meaning of the Cherokee idea of “duyukta,” so central to Red Clay, Blood River, in a profoundly helpful way.
Ross has spent over twenty years as a Crown Attorney in Canada, working primarily among First Nation communities, especially the Cree and Ojibway. These experiences have taught him the reasons that our Western adversarial and retributive system does not produce healing nor help prevent harm to persons and communities. Whereas we proceed with lists of offences and punishments, communities that preserve and recover ancient traditions of communal virtues seek restitution and reintegration. Whereas we have to develop elaborate safeguards for individuals over against a punitive state, they seek ways to assess and heal the broken relationships at the heart of destructive behavior.
Because Ross has worked in both worlds he has developed an acute sense of the limits of the two systems and ways they need to interface. He is aware of the accumulated dysfunctionality of Aboriginal and Native American communities trapped in the dominant legal, economic, and political systems. What he wants to do is to recover ancient teachings and values in order to bring about greater healing in communities ravaged by domestic violence and social disorder. He quotes Diana LeResche, a tribal peacemaking consultant: “Peacemaking…[is concerned with] ‘sacred justice.’ Sacred justice is that way of handling disagreements that helps mend relationships and provides solutions. It deals with the underlying causes of the disagreement.” (25)
Through many case studies he shows us the importance of creating social processes that enable people to create “healthy connections.” This entails a “double obligation, requiring first that you learn to see all things as interconnected and second that you dedicate yourself to connecting yourself, in respectful and caring ways, to everything around you, at every instant, in every activity.” As Lanier Johnson says to Marie, “Connection is the name of the ecological game.” (Red Clay, Blood River, 32) A deep ecological perspective is also at the heart of justice. It is the way of duyukta.
Mining Memories on Cyprus 1923-1925
Mining Memories on Cyprus 1923-1925: Photographs, Correspondence, and Reflections is available in a Kindle e-book format. Based on my maternal grandparents' involvement with re-opening the ancient copper mine at Skouriotissa, Cyprus, it contains 116 startlingly clear photos of mine life in those years as well as copious quotes from their correspondence.
This memoir not only introduces readers to the people but also to the geography, machinery, and events shaping the early days of re-opening the world’s oldest copper mine. It also reflects on what it is to recover pieces of our past, rub off some of the tarnish of forgetfulness, and try to reconstruct a history that binds us to people and places far from our usual paths.
The book is also an invitation to others, not only to recover forgotten or repressed parts of their memory, but also as a reconstruction of their identity. I am keenly aware, all through writing the book, of how Cyprus’s division between Turkish-speaking and Greek-speaking populations has made it very difficult for Cypriots to claim their joint history, appreciate the ecological unity of the island, and find a way toward a workable federalism grounded in a new social covenant among diverse peoples.
To purchase a copy, just CLICK HERE.
For readers' comments about the book, CLICK HERE.
For previous blog posts leading to the book, CLICK HERE.
William J. Everett
In my teaching career I authored eight books and numerous articles in social ethics and religion. After over thirty years of academic work — in Germany, India, and South Africa as well as in the United States — I wanted to turn my hand to writing that was more poetic and expressive. I also wanted a more viable balance between my work with words and my work with wood, especially furniture for worship settings. For more about my woodworking, go to www.WisdomsTable.net, where you will also find galleries of artwork by my wife Sylvia, whose ancestors were the original inspiration for Red Clay, Blood River. READ MORE...
SAWDUST AND SOUL: A Conversation on Woodworking and Spirituality
Sawdust and Soul arose from many conversations and joint woodworking projects I have had over the years with John de Gruchy—friend, theologian, and woodworker who lives in South Africa’s Western Cape but who has also spent extensive time in the US. We’ve talked a lot about our wood projects and how this traditional practice of turning trees into useful and artistic pieces shapes as well as expresses our deepest values and approaches to life as well as its transcendent source. These are conversations about woodworking and spirituality. We’ve included a bunch of pictures of our work as well as some line drawings and poetry by John’s wife Isobel. And yes, our children get in some words along with the woodworkers who have been part of our community of inspiration and support. Our topics range from the shaping of a sense of balance in our lives to dealing with loss, memory, and our wonder as creatures in the midst of an amazing abundance of life and artful design. Whether you’re a tree-hugger, an all-thumbs reader, or an honest-to-goodness woodworker, we invite you into the conversation. CLICK HERE FOR A VIDEO CLIP!
SAWDUST AND SOUL is now available at your local bookstore as well as
Wipf and Stock Publishers
Barnes and Noble
Amazon (also on Kindle)
and other book sellers.
For an EXCERPT from the book, by permission of Wipf and Stock Publishers, CLICK HERE.
TURNINGS: Poems of Transformation
Like works in wood upon a lathe, these poems are word-turnings that reveal the inner grain of our human experience. They are bowls to catch our turnings of memory, conversion, falling in love, and passing through our seasons and the wrenching turns that mark our lives. Above all these turnings are a shout of praise, a murmur of wonder, a turning away from life as usual, a merciful re-turning to the songs, images and stories that move our lives.
You can get TURNINGS at:
For More on TURNINGS:
Red Clay Blood River
Red Clay, Blood River is a story told by Earth about two brothers from Germany and an enslaved South African woman whose lives bind together America’s “Trail of Tears” and South Africa’s simultaneous “Great Trek” of 1838.
OTHER WRITINGS – FREE
I am editing and recasting some of my previous writings into digital format to make them available free to interested persons and study groups. To see a list of these books and articles as well as to save them to your own computer, CLICK HERE.
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