For generations, Peace Villages were cornerstones of Cherokee tribal practice. According to Venerable Dyhani Ywahoo, Founder and Spiritual Director of the Sunray Meditation Society and Peace Village in Vermont, the Peace Village had been a place of sanctuary in the Cherokee tradition, before Europeans came to America. “In these places of sanctuary, people who did something against the law—if they were willing to make themselves anew through prayer, transformation, and reparations for whatever harm they caused to others—could become new people,” Ywahoo said.
When the Europeans arrived to the Americas, however, so did their consciousness. Peace Villages were not seen as the transformative models that they were. They were instead outlawed, the last site made illegal in 1839. Many Peace Villages, however, went underground and continued their healing work in quiet.
Today, the Peace Villages are returning to both Native and non-Native communities. Their teachings and wisdom, too, are making their re-entrance into contemporary societies. Practices such as Restorative Justice, Council, and 12 Step groups, and theories such as Attachment Theory, Family Systems, and the Depth tradition, each mirror the Peace Village model and their teachings. Even the approaches for building Trauma-Informed communities indeed follow the same simple construct of the Peace Villages.
So, to these communities and those embracing them we say: Welcome Back.
Osada. (It is good.)