Canadian School of Peacebuilding

The Ethic of Traditional Communities and the Spirit of Healing Justice: Studies from Hollow Water, the Iona Community, and Plum Village

by Jarem Sawatsky

What is healing justice? Who practices it? What does it look like? In this international study on healing justice, Jarem Sawatsky examines traditional communities including Hollow Water — an Aboriginal and Metis community in Canada renowned for their healing work in the face of 80% sexual abuse rates; the Iona Community — a dispersed Christian ecumenical community in Scotland known for their work towards peace, healing, and social justice, rebuilding of community and the renewal of worship; and Plum Village — a Vietnamese initiated Buddhist community in southern France — and home to the Nobel Peace Prize nominated author — Thich Nhat Hahn. These case studies record a search for the kind of social, structural, and spiritual relationships necessary to sustain a healing view of justice. Through comparing cases, Sawatsky identifies the common patterns, themes and imagination which these communities share. The commonalities among those that practice healing justice are then examined for their implications for wider society, particularly for restorative justice and criminal justice.