MAIN OFFICE:  P.O. BOX 520 • WINDOW ROCK, AZ 86515 Telephone: (928) 871-6388
 

PROGRAM INFORMATION

Click here for a booklet describing our traditional services. Brochure available here.

For information how to request or refer peacemaking and life value services, also click on the "Plan of Operations" link on the column to the left. Forms are also available through the link on the column to the left.

 
Hózhóji Naat’aah (Diné Traditional Peacemaking)
Áłchíní BáNdazhnit’á (Diné Family Group Conferencing)
Nábináhaazláago Áłch’į’ yáti’ (Life Value Engagements)
 
Hózhóji Naat’aah (Diné Traditional Peacemaking)

             Traditional Diné Peacemaking begins in a place of chaos, hóóchx̨o’/ anáhóót’i’, whether within an individual or between human beings.  Perhaps due to historical trauma, Navajos shy away from face-to-face confrontations. However, such confrontations are vital in order to dispel hóóchx̨o’/anáhóót’i’.  The Peacemaker has the courage and skills to provide the groundwork for the person or group to confront hóóchx̨o’/anáhóót’i’ and move toward mastering harmonious existence.  Life value engagement with the peacemaker provides the sense of identity and pride from our cultural foundations.  Hóóchx̨o’/anáhóót’i’ can block and overwhelm clanship, k’é, which is normally what binds human beings together in mutual respect.  Through engagement, the Peacemaker educates, persuades, pleads and cajoles the individual or group toward a readiness to open up, listen, share, and make decisions as a single unit using k’é.  When hóóchx̨o’/anáhóót’i’ is confronted, people may learn there is a choice to leave it.  When harmony, hózh̨̨ó, is self-realized, sustaining it will have clarity and permanent hózh̨̨ó will be self-attainable, hózh̨ǫ́ójí k’ehgo nįná’íldee’ iłhááhodidzaa ná’oodzíí’.

 

             Through stories and teachings, the Peacemaker dispenses knowledge, naat'áánii, in order to guide the whole toward a cathartic understanding of hózh̨̨ó that opens the door to transformative healing.  The flow of hózh̨̨ó is a movement inwards toward the core issue or underlying truth.  Recognition of this truth and the ending of denial provide the opportunity for healing or mutual mending.  Realization of the truth occurs when individual feelings are fundamentally satisfied.  The resolution of damaged feelings is the core material of peacemaking sessions, hózh̨óji naat’aah.  Depending on the skill of the Peacemaker, hózh̨̨ó may be short or may take several peacemaking sessions. 

 
Áłchíní BáNdazhnit’á (Diné Family Group Conferencing)

          Family Group Conferencing (FGC) originated in New Zealand. It was originally used to allow social work practice to work with and not against Maori values and culture.  In 1989, the New Zealand government made FGC a central part of practice and services in call cases concerning children, including dependency up through delinquency-type cases.    

         Áłchíní báNdazhnit’á (Diné family group conferencing) through the Peacemaking Program is an extension of peacemaking in response to the requirements of the Álchíní Bi Beehaz’ áannii Act of 2011 calling upon the Navajo Nation “to seek out culturally appropriate methods for prevention, intervention and treatment of family disharmony” and “to facilitate family harmony using measures consistent with Navajo Nation statutes and Diné bi beehaz’áannii.”[1]  The Program will assist in family preservation and reunification when called upon by courts, agencies and families in the spirit and intent of the Act and on the basis of Diné bi beehaz’áannii.  The Program understands these requirements to mean that traditional principles and skills in achieving hózh̨̨ó are to be explained and provided in such situations.

         The Program will also arrange áłchíní báNdazhnit’á upon referrals from the prosecutor and schools in matters concerning CHINS, delinquency and disciplinary matters.

         Peacemaking is the foundation of áłchíní báNdazhnit’á, in that a peacemaker’s skills in guiding a family out ofhóóchx̨o’/anáhóót’i’ toward hózh̨̨ó is called upon.  However there are critical institutional factors also present that impact an individual’s liberty or a family’s preservation for which the family is given a first opportunity, a generational responsibility using elders also, to put forward a plan for implementation by the responsible agency. 

 
Nábináhaazláago Áłch’į’ yáti (Life Value Engagements) 

 Life value engagements, nábináhaazláago áłch’į’ yáti’, are further traditional services that may be given through the Peacemaking Program.  The nature of nábináhaazláago áłch’į’ yáti’ depends on the need of the individuals or groups as explained below. 

         Unlike peacemaking, engagements do not include both sides in a dispute.  In such engagements, individuals or groups meet with a Peacemaker or traditional teacher in order to learn how to address a problem through opening up tohózh̨̨ó.  The individuals or groups learn to identify the problem as relating to their own personal accountability and willingness to grapple with hóóchx̨o’/anáhóót’i’ and serve themselves, their families and their community by taking the first steps toward hózh̨̨ó.  Such engagements may be dynamic dialogues where hóóchx̨o’/anáhóót’i’, through the lens of stories and teachings, takes on an emotional shape and is released.  They may be intense in character.  The intensity of the engagement allows individuals to self-realize the teachings.  They frequently precede successful peacemaking outcomes in deeply conflicted situations and may even result in restoration to hózh̨̨ó by itself.

         A flow of feelings will move around a group engagement.  In the first round, the movement will center on the subject and the teachings, providing an opportunity for each member in the group to engage, for their true feelings to be realized.  This may be very positive, or may be negative, when harmful feelings are given up.  In the second round, all feelings are understood in a fair way and turned into positive affirmation.

          Life value engagements are also considered the important preparatory part of a peacemaking session.  When peacemaking is pursued, the Program will engage naałchidí to ensure that they have knowledge of the hózh̨óji naat’aahprocess so that they are prepared to participate fully.  When used in this way, engagements are accounted for, as part of a single peacemaking session.

         Sometimes, individuals, courts, agencies and schools may specially ask for an engagement for an individual, a family or group.  In such requests, there is no dispute for which an agreement is sought, but the participants are caught up in a tunnel out of which a life value engagement might serve as a guide. 

         In most cases concerning individuals, the engagement concerns an individual who is searching for hózh̨̨ó or is in need of a sense of personal accountability, self-realization, and self-empowerment in the middle of difficult circumstances.  E.g., an adult or juvenile in detention or community alternative to detention, a persistently truant or inattentive student, a school bully, an absent parent failing to provide support for his family, an individual who cannot break a substance abuse habit.

         Family or groups engagement normally concern individuals experiencing a problem and engagement is needed in order for the whole family or group to handle a situation properly.  E.g., a family learning to properly communicate with a disabled or substance abusing member, a family learning how to support a member who has returned home after being in a war, or detention, or other extraordinary experiences; a group of children that has never left the reservation who are now leaving for a long time to a distant college.