Nenana Wellness Coalition
November 20, 2012
The Nenana Wellness Coalition is an alliance of representatives from various organizations, government agencies, community groups and individuals that meets weekly to discuss, evaluate, coordinate, consolidate, celebrate, and help implement plans for improving the wellness and quality of life in Nenana Alaska.
There were 5 in attendance today, including: Kat McElroy, David Poppe, Bonnie Reed, Virginia Young, and Jessica Durtsche. We enjoyed garbanzo bean with lamb soup, Pita bread and butter, Ritz crackers with sliced cheese and raisins and pecans for lunch.
WELCOME followed by the READING OF MISSION STATEMENT, by this week’s chair-person: Bonnie Reed.
PRAYER was led by Virginia Young, followed by the PLEDGE OF ALLEGIENCE
PRESENTATION OF AGENDA AND CALL FOR MODIFICATIONS: There was one addition and one deletion to the agenda as presented.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Minutes were posted at the WIN link at www.railbelt.org and submitted electronically to the WIN e-list.
INTRODUCTION OF GUESTS: No new guests today.
Restorative Justice: Kat McElroy has had a series of phone calls and emails with various entities regarding this matter. She spoke to Robin Campbell at the Nenana Native Council. Robin is very supportive of the idea, and gave Kat several names of people with whom to explore the idea further. Lisa Jaeger is with TCC and has been working on the issue as a tribal government specialist. Kat emailed Lisa, who is on holiday; they have arranged to speak upon her return. Robin also suggested Kat contact Magistrate McLean in Galena who has successfully implemented Circle Justice in that community. Tribal courts across Alaska and Canada are using restorative justice practices to reduce harm in their communities. For this to be successful in Nenana, we will need to bring members of all aspects of our community into consensus and participation.
Kat has talked to the superintendent of our school and brought the issue to the NCPS prevention program advisory board and they support the idea. Kathy Gephardt provided information about the restorative justice process currently in place for juvenile offenders and they discussed strategies for expanding that to include adult offenders. Kat will bring the issue forward at the next city assembly meeting. She will speak with our local magistrate, Brian Fischer, to ascertain his thoughts and feelings on this and invite him into the process. The VPSO, staff at Railbelt Mental Health & Addictions, and tribal court are all entities that will need to be involved.
A quote from a web site on circle justice says: Restorative Justice Circles can be shaped around any harm. My harm is your harm, and your harm is our harm. That’s a cheesy sentence, but I know when we join together we can heal. Blame separates and hurts, leaving us isolated in pain. Sharing harm is not easy, however it is a step in the process of healing.
Robin will put this on the agenda for the Community Pride/Village Safety meeting to be held at the tribal hall December 31st.
WIN Meeting Format: Virginia said that several people have approached her over time asking about the format we use for conducting WIN meetings. Specifically, people had voiced questions regarding our use of the pledge of allegiance to open the meeting. Her concern is that use of the pledge is off-putting to some people. She wonders if use of the pledge may affect wellness for Nenana as a while if it is potentially divisive. She asks: do our customs and rituals get in the way of people feeling comfortable in our processes?
There was some discussion regarding this matter.Kat says she has had people approach her on the same issue, questioning the use of opening prayers as well as the pledge. Kat explained a little of the process that was used initially in 2003, when WIN first began, to hammer out a mission statement and a meeting format. It was a consensus process and any of it can be changed. She said that no one is forced to participate in the prayer or pledge. She pointed out that she herself does not recite the pledge of allegiance, due to her own personal feelings about that, but she is willing to stand in respectful silence while others do so. If the meeting format is to be changed, however, she suggests that it be as the result of multiple discussions with all WIN members, over time, so there be no appearance of anyone ramrodding any particular agenda.
It was agreed to keep this on the agenda for awhile, and revisit the issue over time.
WELLNESS THOUGHT: Isolation is the sum total of wretchedness to a man. Thomas Carlyle
David: Completed his EMT training for recertification. Now he needs to take the test, December 8th. Cows are all doing well.
Virginia: 7 PM Wednesday night, at Bonnie’s house (510 east First Street), they will be having a themed devotion. The theme this month is The Nature of the Soul.
Roland is okay in Israel despite missiles flying overhead; he says it is everyday conversation but he just stays busy building dehumidifiers.
Kat: Back from her retreat at Chena Hot Springs. Railbelt is beginning to organize for Operation Ho Ho Ho. The actual date is not set yet as that is contingent upon Santa’s Clearing House I Fairbanks. They use Nenana as a dry run for their Fairbanks operations. As usual, Annalee Coy will be organizing the Angel Tree project at the school.
Jessica: Her mother is coming up from Wasilla to spend Thanksgiving with her. She has Thanksgiving Day off. Hurrah!
Bonnie: Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, there will be a community dinner starting at 4 PM at the tribal hall. It is pot luck. All are invited. If you don’t know what to bring, call Rebecca Troxel at 832-1000.
Sunday, November 25, the Nenana AA group will be having their 7th Birthday Bash, an open AA speaker meeting and community pot luck. The speaker this year will be Kat M. Everyone is invited.
ADJOURNMENT: 1:15 PM.