Pono Kaulike Program

IIRP has posted another great article here on a project in Hawaii. It’s a good overview of how restorative justice is being applied to domestic violence and drug abuse cases. Toward the end of the article there is a discussion of three types of restorative justice programs that are being used. Very interesting, and I think it will lead to some tweaking of the continuum that I’ve been tinkering with.

Also, it reminded me of a story.

I was in a ukelele shop on one of the islands a few months ago. Got into a conversation with the storekeeper while I noodled on one of the ukeleles (a very fine instrument, I must say). He asked me what work I did so I told him about restorative justice. He said, “Oh yeah, we do that here. We call it ‘Ho o Pono Pono.’ In fact, I was involved in one recently.”

He pointed at some very nice handmade Koa wood oars that were decorating a wall of the shop. “I had those at one of the resorts on display for the tourists to look at. I needed a restroom break, and when I came back a man had grabbed one and was chasing a boy around with it. Pretending he was going to hit the boy, you know. But that wood is very sacred to us; it was really a terrible thing.”

I asked what happened next.

“Well, a security guard, a big Hawaiian guy, took that oar away from the man and told him that he was violating a sacred part of our culture. And then later I was called into a circle with some elders. We talked about what had happened, and how my actions had allowed it.”

So, I asked, what was the outcome of the meeting.

“I won’t let that happen again with any sacred objects in my care.” He said. “You like that ukulele?”

I did. By then I had figured out how to play a minor scale over an open bass pedal, and was getting some pretty good sounds out it. He said he could always tell when a guitar player came in, they all figured out the same thing given enough time.

I’ve forgotten that scale now, but I remember the story.

We live in a culture where the traditional roles of the elders has been all but forgotten. It’s a tremendous loss. Yet many people are trying in a variety of ways to keep traditions alive, or to find new ones. Restorative Justice is in that movement.  With each circle we create an opportunity for people to rediscover their roles as elders, to rediscover thier wisdom, and to share it with their families and community.

For more on ho o pono pono, here’s a blog from a Hawaiian practitioner.


One Response

  1. […] find blogs on Restorative Justice for Loreen Walker in Hawaii and Amos Clifford in California.  The Curb Crime site has a blog, they are in the Caribbean!  If you know of other […]

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