Conflict Resolution Promoted Through D-Q UniversityMay 15th, 1993 | By pboyer | Category: 5-1: Art, Tribal College News
Indian communities see plenty of conflict. But few American Indians are trained to solve disagreements that develop within families, tribes or government agencies.
However, a recent agreement between D-Q University in Davis, California and Indian Dispute Resolution Services, Inc. of Sacramento is expected to increase the number of Indians trained in the art of conflict resolution.
People who complete training courses offered by Indian Dispute Resolution Services will earn upper division college credits through D-Q. The college is also offering a certificate program in dispute management and resolution after completion of at least 12 credits earned through IDRS courses.
Students who complete the program will be qualified to work on their own or within tribal or government agencies.
According to Eric Enriquez, training coordinator for IDRS, there is an urgent need for American Indians who are trained in conflict resolution. Poverty, lack of education and limited tribal resources all conspire to promote tension and disagreement. The nineteenth century policy of placing different tribal groups onto one reservation by the federal government also results in a continuing struggle for power between different factions.
“It’s really fertile ground for any conflict that comes up,” says Enriquez.
However, few American Indians have been trained to defuse tension. Enriquez says there is an especially great need for Indians trained as mediators. A person acting as a neutral third party is a new idea to many students, he says. Instead, most assume that everyone takes sides in a disagreement. Non-Indians, meanwhile, may not be sensitive to important cultural issues.
D-Q University President Carlos Cordero believes conflict resolution is part of American Indian culture. It is “consummate with Indian values because it is inherent in the native American tradition to strive for balance which can be gained when different groups learn to work together,” he said at the signing of the agreement.
The first group under D-Q University sponsorship completed course work in August. IDRS has been working since 1988, when it was founded by five Indian organizations.
In the past, IDRS has worked with groups ranging from tribal housing authorities to the Owen Valley Indian Water Commission, which has been fighting for years to get retribution for water taken by the City of Los Angeles. But other participants have been individual tribal members who wish to end conflict within their own family of among families.
“We’re putting together the first cadre of native American sensitive mediators,” says Enriquez. “It’s been a long time coming.”
For more information about Indian Dispute Resolution Services and its affiliation with D-Q University, contact IDRS at 1029 K Street, Suite 38, Sacramento, CA 95814. Phone: (916) 447-4800.