Did you ever bring in a neutral expert or other resource person to help with fact-finding problems?


Edward Howden


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

A key thing in this case was how to handle technical problems. I had no knowledge and would not presume to have any knowledge about water issues, so everybody agreed to get a hydrologist in and another related expert to help us. We were able to get some folks from the state university and one other expert to come. Everybody, tribal folks and enclave folks, walked the area with the experts, examined the spring, discussed ways in which the waterflow could be enhanced even over what it was at that time, and these gentlemen did some measurements on the scene as to how much water was coming out, so that there could be some accurate checking.



Martin Walsh


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Yes, I think so. When the newest conflict came up, the students were able to resolve it through their own mediation process by sitting down and without any external person. To manage that type of conflict was good for them. When we went in there in '96, they really were talking to one another. There was a lot of trust between the students of color and the administration.



Stephen Thom


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

The headquarters has said we need to empower and build capacity of local communities, and that's one of the only ways we're going to be able to properly provide service because you can't be everywhere. If you build the local capacity of a community to have its own ability to resolve conflicts, then we will basically go to the key crisis where they are big and wide enough that our services are needed.

Question:
How do you do that?

Answer:
Well, there are a couple things that I've done. I looked at what infrastructure there is within the states. In California, there is an organization called the School Law Enforcement Partnership Cadre. It consists of 50 law enforcement related positions or officers and 50 educators and school administrators, who work collectively. They are spread out geographically throughout California to work on addressing school violence, and violence prevention. They are excellent partners for me. When the shooting happened at Santana High School in San Diego County -- I think there were 13 shot and two killed -- my inclination was to first go and meet with people who work in the School Law Enforcement Cadre. I have an excellent counterpart there with the San Diego county office of education. He works in the area of violence prevention and intervention. So I moved to his operation and very quickly got a briefing on what's going on, where's it located, how do I get there, what's the circumstance, what's his position, what's their role at this point? Then I move on to the scene and relay back to his organization what we need, and begin to organize our whole crisis response to that situation. Having these partners throughout the State is really helpful. And I've trained the Cadre in different things that we do, to give them the skills to help empower school districts address some of their own racial conflicts. I've also joined the board of the California Association of Human Relations Organizations, which is the state network for all the human relations commissions in the state of California. Again this is a critical resource in terms of knowing where the human relations commissions are. They give two training seminars, one in Northern California, one in Southern California, which I try to participate in or network, so that whenever a situation occurs, we have partners to work with and we can also train these organizations. I've trained the Riverside Human Relations Commission in mediation. I've trained them in dealing with Study Circles dialogues as diffusion tactics and techniques. We took our SPIRIT program and trained the human relations commission to work with, Students Problem Identifying and Resolving Issues Together (SPIRIT). Programs like SPIRIT can be provided within the schools; it enhances their capability, and it also means that we're touching more people. That's the way I try to respond. There's a question that you ask: What is the long term benefit that we try to leave a community when we go into a situation? One of the objectives of CRS is to leave a mechanism to address the conflict and to try to give them the capability to resolve the conflict on their own. So that's a big part, I think, of what we attempt to do. By honing in the skills of the local community, we in a sense, give them a long-term mechanism to resolve conflict.






Edward Howden


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Did you find that there was much discrepancy or difference between what you thought to be the issue and other underlying issues, and what the people revealed?

Answer:
I don't think a great deal of difference. There were some questions of fact that got straightened out with the assistance of the hydrologist. So the concerns and fears of the tribe eventually became somewhat eased. Both parties listened to the hydrologist and others as to how they could enhance the flow of the spring. As a layman, I was fascinated to begin learning about this. There were cottonwood trees and other growth in an area surrounding the spring, and the water experts pointed out if you cut that growth down, the spring might yield more. Somebody had the bright idea to put in a small herd of goats and let them eat up the vegetation.

Question:
Was there any question about the credibility of the hydrologist? Did anybody think he was working for one side or against another side, or did they trust you to find an impartial expert?

Answer:
I think maybe one or the other party asked me to suggest where we could find an expert. The suggestion may have come from the tribe or from the enclave community. Once the two men came up there, though, I don't recall there was any question of their credentials.







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