ACCEC’s Wisdom Keepers program is founded on the belief that one of the essential approaches to decolonizing colonial processes is the integration of our cultural knowledge and wisdom keepers who possess extensive insights of African Indigenous practices and Black communities. ACCEC’s Wisdom Keepers serve as both custodians and educators of African Indigenous knowledge systems, worldviews, and teachings. They offer insights into various aspects, including reconnecting with culture, identity, language, community history, spirituality, faith, and the interconnectedness of all living and non-living entities, including the universe—a fundamental African Indigenous principle shared among people of African descent.
Within ACCEC, our wisdom keepers are trusted, trained, and highly regarded individuals who play a pivotal role in upholding our cultural protocols. All of our wisdom keepers undergo ACCEC’s rigorous training, orientation, skills development, and screening process to ensure they are well-prepared for their vital roles as knowledge custodians. These dedicated individuals actively contribute to the following programs and initiatives within our council:
A. ACB Restorative Justice Program
ACCEC’s Restorative Justice Program is rooted in the philosophy of repairing the harm caused by criminal acts through a transformative process. Our approach emphasizes reconciliation, healing, reparation, and rebuilding relationships.
- Offender Involvement: The program encourages the active participation of offenders in acknowledging their wrongdoing and taking responsibility for their actions. Through dialogue and engagement with victims and community members, offenders are given an opportunity for accountability and rehabilitation. we work in collaboration with the provincial court of Alberta.
- Victim-Centered: Victims of the crimes are at the core of the restorative justice process. Their needs, concerns, and healing are prioritized, and they have a say in how the process unfolds, including the resolution and restitution measures.
- Community Engagement: Community members play an essential role in providing support and guidance throughout the process. Their involvement helps create a sense of belonging and reintegration for both victims and offenders.
B. Incorporation of African Philosophy and Worldview
ACCEC places a strong emphasis on African philosophy and worldview, ensuring that these principles are deeply integrated into the organization’s mandate and initiatives, ACCEC does this through the processes of:
- Wisdom Keepers: ACCEC invites wisdom keepers who are knowledgeable in African philosophy and traditions to facilitate cultural protocols, blessings, and sharing circles. These cultural teachings support the authentic implementation of our restorative program and process.
- Cultural Sensitivity: By incorporating African philosophy, ACCEC demonstrates cultural sensitivity and respect for diverse perspectives, fostering a more inclusive and holistic approach to restorative justice.
- Cultural Activities: Through the Wisdom keepers’ program ACCEC provide members of our communities with a prioritizing Black youth the opportunity to participate in experiential learning activities that recognize and celebrate the diversity and cultures of African Indigenous peoples.
C. Collaboration with Indigenous Elders in Turtle Island
ACCEC collaborates with Indigenous Elders from Turtle Island, recognizing the importance of Indigenous worldviews and perspectives in the restorative justice process. This partnership acknowledges the existence of various Indigenous worldviews and cultures, which may differ among different Indigenous groups. It aims to incorporate these diverse perspectives into the program.
ACCEC’s Restorative Justice Program is a multi-faceted approach that seeks to repair harm, prioritize victims’ needs, involve offenders, and engage the broader community. It does so with a strong foundation in African philosophy, while also recognizing and collaborating with Indigenous Elders to embrace diverse worldviews and cultures in the pursuit of justice and healing. The Wisdom Keepers Circle and its associated programming represent initiatives that ACCEC has been diligently building over the past five years. These efforts aim to promote cultural awareness and strengthen connections among all individuals of African descent within our community. In conjunction with our Wisdom Keepers, we offer members of the African-descent community the opportunity to engage with African-Indigenous Elders. Participants can also partake in experiential learning activities that acknowledge and celebrate the diversity of African Indigenous cultures.
Through the guidance of our wisdom keepers, ACCEC’s committee imparts African Indigenous knowledge systems, utilizing cultural practices to transmit wisdom from one generation to the next.