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TEDxDirigo: RISE State Theatre, Portland, Maine

Negotiating the Non-Negotiable

  • 2015
  • Community

When injustices have been enacted over generations, such as those by European and other settlers over the Native Peoples of (what we now call) Maine, how do those historically on the side of the oppressors begin to offer genuine and meaningful apology? Jamie Bissonnette Lewey probes at the impact of such action, opening up the possibility for productive negotiation.

Jamie is Abenaki. She is the chair of the Maine Indian Tribal State Commission and coordinates the Healing Justice Program for the American Friends Service Committee in New England. She is one of the founders of the Healing and Transformative Justice Center which shares essential healing methodologies by focusing on the healing of whole communities or nations. Over the past 30 years, Jamie has worked with numerous communities and individuals in the struggle for dignity and self-determination, focusing on sovereignty and responsibility, including with Native People in Mexico migrating to the US for jobs; Xhosa Communities in the South African Townships of Gugulethu and Khayalitsha developing justice practices; and Tribal Communities in the ancestral region of her People, Southern Canada and New England on criminal justice and emerging Tribal justice issues. In 2013, the Episcopal Divinity School awarded Jamie an Honorary Doctorate in Divinity.