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Theodore Hargrave
The Beatin' Stick

For over a decade, Tad has found himself drawn to conversations about how we might tend to the harm that’s done in communities in ways that leave the community stronger and more whole at the end – not more shattered. Between Sept 2004 – Feb 2006, Tad dedicated himself to learning his ancestral language, Scottish Gaelic, in both Nova Scotia and Scotland. He can speak Gaelic with conversational fluency. He also runs a blog called Healing from Whiteness as well as a Facebook group of the same name. He is a co-founder of the Nova Scotia Gael’s Jam and co-starred in Canada’s second Gaelic language film The Fiddler’s Reel.

The Beatin’ Stick: Thoughts On Restorative Justice From The Indigenous Heart of Old Europe

How do we deal with harm and hurt in our communities?
This seems to be a question on many of our minds these days.
Or you’ve seen it in the broader culture around you and certainly on Facebook – the divisiveness, the polarization, the meanness and the piling on. And this is amongst ‘the good guys’. It’s easy to lose hope that we’ll ever get anywhere
Ignoring it doesn’t work.
But many have begun to wonder if the call outs and cancellings, the shamings and shunnings work any better in the end. Much of it feels ‘off’ somehow but there’s a fear of voicing this lest we are next.
At the heart of this fear that so many live with is a sort of cultural worshiping at the altar or the one true god of punitive justice – justice by punishment. The contagion of this seems to have been blown by the growing winds of our time to the left and to the right equally.
But there is another form of justice – deeply rooted in many traditional cultures from around the world. It is often spoken of as restorative justice or transformative justice. It’s an approach to dealing with the very real troubles and travails, harms and harrowings that happen in our communities that centers the healing and wholeness of the community.
This gathering offers little hope, few solutions, no easy-fixes and a likelihood of a deepening into the cultural poverties of our times. You won’t learn how to hold a healing circle or the ‘four steps to holding someone accountable’ but you might learn a great deal about why those things happen so seldom despite many of us yearning for them so badly.
In this presentation, you’ll be hearing an old Scottish Traveler’s tale ‘The Beatin’ Stick’ which will act, if all goes well, as a hospitable host to welcome us in and sit us down by the hearth and help us see something of what might be done about the madness and manias that, so often, tear our communities apart.