My name is Austen J. Brauker. I am running for the office of Chief Judge.
I have worked at the L.R.B.O.I. Tribal Justice Center as a Peacemaker/Probation Officer for the Tribal Court, since the spring of 2008.
I humbly ask: “How would our ancestors conduct a Court today?”
Maybe, something like this:
Participants will have an intake to determine if their case is best fit for Peacemaking, or for the Court. Most problems can be solved without litigation, without hiring lawyers and without punishment and retribution. Restoring relationships and bringing things back in to balance is what makes a community strong. If the parties involved choose to continue to formal Court, the cases will be accompanied with an offering of tobacco from all involved parties.
Everyone will cleanse with sage smoke. (Of course, there will be instances where this will not be possible, and people who want to waive this step of the process will be given that option. Nothing will be forced on anyone, but using our culture will be encouraged.)
A Sacred Pipe will be connected for the duration of each Court session.
The tobacco offering given by the participants, will be smoked upon conclusion. (Participation in the smoking will be optional for the involved parties. If people do not want to take part in this ceremony, then the Pipe Carrier present will offer the smoke on his or her own.)
An Eagle Feather will be used as a talking piece. (There are certain times when we will use a talking stick, if necessary.)
The primary rules of the Court will be the Seven Grandfather Teachings, and the traditional values of our tribe.
The secondary rules will be that of the “formal” modern courtroom. To practice law in our Tribal Court, a “lawyer” must read and sign our Seven Grandfathers court guidelines. The normal court rules will still exist, but the additional guidelines of our traditional values will also have weight in how people will be expected to behave.
Following each case the Court room will be cleansed with smoke from our sacred medicines.
POWER TO SHAPE COURT DECISIONS WILL HAVE INPUT FROM THE PEOPLE:
Three Tribal Member Circles will be formed for giving guidance in the offering of sentencing recommendations, advising and servicing participants after adjudication, and for giving consultation to the Chief Judge.
Advice from these community circles, and their recommendations, will not replace the law, but it will be respectfully heard and carefully considered where decisions will have to be made, since they are decisions that affect the course of people’s lives and the future of our tribe.
These three circles will be: an Elder’s Circle, a Women’s Circle, and a Men’s Circle.
The focus of the Court will be: healing people and strengthening families, building relationships, and solving problems.
Our tools will be the common sense of our traditional stories, sacred medicines, and the wisdom of elders.
Giiwedin (Cold North Wind)
Austen J. Braukerhttps://www.linkedin.com/pub/dir/Austen/Brauker