NIGERIA: Church of the Brethren family cares for fifty-two people displaced by Boko Haram


The room looked like any other clean and neat living room this morning, yet at night, Janata said, it was full of women and young children, sleeping on mats. Older children sleep outside in the back fenced-in yard, and most of the men sleep outside under the trees and near other buildings in the EYN (Nigerian Brethren Church) Headquarters compound in Jos. Janata Gamache and her husband, Markus, currently care for, in their home, fifty-two men, women, and children displaced by the violence of Boko Haram.

Displaced families and individuals started coming to Jos and other safer areas of Nigeria in large numbers in August and September 2014, when Boko Haram attacked communities in Borno State in the northeast. This number increased after Boko Haram started terrorizing areas of northern Adamawa State, including the EYN Headquarters near Mubi, in the fall of 2014 and early 2015. When possible, displaced people went to live with relatives. Thousands ended up in displacement camps, where the once self-reliant people found themselves feeling dependent and powerless. Other displaced people camped outside on the grounds of church buildings. But many EYN families, like the Gamaches, opened their doors to them. In time, host families and congregations helped some of them rent temporary dwellings in the area. EYN has also purchased land near the cities of Jos and Abuja, where they are building temporary houses for additional accommodation.

INDIGENOUS PEOPLES SOLIDARITY: Aboriginal Justice Team changes its name to Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Team


The Christian Peacemaker Aboriginal Justice Team has undergone a transition to a new team name, after much deliberation and discussion. Although the mandate and vision for the team remains the same, the name change represents an effort to maintain currency within Indigenous movements for self-determination, and the team feels Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Team better captures the desired scope of its work. The team has floated this change past some of its Indigenous friends and partners who have welcomed it. 

Still in popular use, the term “aboriginal” refers to First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples. However, as Mohawk scholar Taiaike Alfred and Cherokee professor Jeff Corntassel (2005) indicate, while some Indigenous people have embraced this label, “this identity is purely a state construction that is instrumental to the state’s attempt to gradually subsume Indigenous existences into its own constitutional system and body politic” (p. 598). In 2008, the Union of Ontario Indians and later Grand Council of Treaty #3 representing the Anishnaabek passed resolutions and launched a campaign to eliminate the inappropriate use of the term "aboriginal." To many, “aboriginalism is a legal, political and cultural discourse designed to serve an agenda of silent surrender to an inherently unjust relation at the root of the colonial state itself” (Alfred & Corntassel, p. 599). To the chagrin of many First Nations, in 2011 Canada's Conservative government changed the minister and department title responsible for “Indian Affairs” to “Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development,” embodying this discursive tactic. 

NIGERIA: The Courage to Heal and Forgive


One by one, around the circle, participants held up their drawings, charting their life’s journeys.  Doris shared about running into the mountains to escape Boko Haram fighters, after Boko Haram killed her older brother, uncle, and several friends. Ibrahim told about the militants arresting him and shooting at him as he ran into the bush to escape. Elizabeth spoke about her grief that her husband and three children are still missing, and presumed dead. 

Set in a beautiful rural retreat center, outside Jos, Nigeria, twenty-eight men and women came together for six-day advanced training in trauma healing, sponsored by EYN (Nigerian Church of the Brethren) and MCC (Mennonite Central Committee) in Nigeria. Peter Serete, assistant program coordinator of the Friends Church Peace Team of the African Great Lakes Initiative in Kenya was the head trainer. Each participant had already experienced a basic workshop and was receiving training to become “healing companions” to others. Out of this group, fifteen will be chosen to become a trainer and spread what they have learned more widely to trauma victims. 

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): A week in photos 10-16 May 2015




Pictured here: A Palestinian journalist takes a photo of Israeli soldiers during the weekly settler tour of Hebron's Old City. Monitoring the tour through cameras is one of the ways Palestinians have found for deterring some of the violence and aggression from settlers and soldiers.  



Iraqi Kurdistan

Accompaniment in Kani Shaya

On April 27th, CPT accompanied farmers of Kani Shaya, a village in the Bazian area, to a meeting with a representative of the company which is constructing a new cement factory on agricultural land. Some farmers of the community signed contracts with the company and sold their land. However, the monstrous construction also affects the adjacent fields, whose owners have not received anything. In the presence of CPT the company representative promised that after the construction is finished and the company begins earning money from the cement, the farmers will be compensated. In the meantime, the company expressed that they might be willing to meet the request of the farmers to provide electricity to some of their houses that they use while working on their fields.

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