2013-2014 Tutu Fellows

Professor Siobhan McEvoy-Levy, Department Chair of Political Science at Butler and Butler University students Hadeel Said (’17), Rebecca Rendall (’15) and Rachel Bergsieker (’14) were awarded with Tutu Fellowships for the project Historical Memory, Truth Telling, and Reconciliation: The Maine-State Wabanaki Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Beyond

The first part of the project focused on the Maine-State Wabanaki Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and involved collaborative work with researcher Bennett Collins and Professor Alison Watson (St. Andrew’s University). Telling the stories of Wabanaki children placed in foster care between 1978 and the present, this ongoing TRC is providing a space for the articulation of a silenced history, and a site within which the memory of trauma and the trauma of memory can be shared in solidarity. Its participants hope that through the power of stories and of listening to truly understand, there will action for institutional reform, policy change, and ultimately steps towards justice for the Wabanaki people in everyday life. Butler students Rebecca Rendall and Rachel Bergsieker helped to transcribe interviews with the participants in the TRC, did background research, and collected information about other truth projects and sites in North America and Australia.

During the second part of the project Student Fellow Hadeel Said worked with Dr McEvoy-Levy on the ways in which recognition of past political trauma and loss can be respectfully and meaningfully leveraged in educational, cultural, arts and public-space based programs to prevent new cycles of violence and further positive peace with justice.  The focus of this part of the project so far has been on youth and conflicts in and related to the Middle East, through the lens of the Arab-American experience in the United States. Hadeel Said will continue looking at these issues in field research in Palestine for her honors thesis this coming summer 2015.  A panel of community activists, faculty and students discussed The Arts and Peacebuilding, organized by Dr. McEvoy-Levy for DTC in November 2014.

Founding members of the TRC and members of the Wabanaki tribes in Maine, Professor Esther Attean and Denise Altvater gave public presentations on the challenges and dilemmas of Reconciliation with Native America as part of the DTC and Center for Faith and Vocation speaker series in February 2015.

Collins, Watson and McEvoy-Levy coauthored a book chapter, ‘The Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission’ in Indigenous Rights and Access to Justice, edited by Elsa Stamatopoulou & Wilton Littlechild, Institute for the Study of Human Rights, Columbia University. The document is available here.

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