Finding Peace Via the Maori and Lakota - A Thanksgiving Episode

Published: Nov 19 2020

A CNN report cites that after America’s 2016 presidential election, our collective stress “metastasized into a full on cultural disorder” called American Thanksgiving Anxiety. So what are we approaching in the wake of the 2020 election AND a pandemic? Many of us are anticipating a Thanksgiving meal at a dinner table surrounded by masked and politically-polarized relatives – so there’s no better time to learn from a Fund for Teachers Fellow who pursued learning around creating communities of peace.

Today we visit with Treena Thibodeau, middle school teacher at New York City’s Chinese/English dual language Shuang Wen School. After realizing the high level of stress and competition among her students who vie for coveted seats at one of the city’s nine elite public high schools, Treena designed a fellowship to explore restorative justice practices among New Zealand's Maori culture and the Lakota Sioux to integrate equity and peacemaking practices within the school culture.

We caught up with Treena in her classroom to talk about what she learned on her fellowship and what we can apply not only with students, but also with our larger communities.