Gayle Desmeules, a Métis Canadian citizen, has more than 30 years of experience training and facilitating community engagement and restorative resolution processes in child intervention services, justice, education, recreation, sport and the energy sector. Raised traditionally, she discovered through her background and research that the roots of restorative justice originate from Indigenous legal systems. Gayle sees restorative justice as a powerful mechanism to advance the process of truth and reconciliation by “honoring Indigenous ways of knowing for the common future of humanity” (UNDRIP, 2007).
Gayle recognizes the similarity and affinity of restorative and Indigenous approaches. Both are inclusive, non-prescriptive, non-adversarial and non-punitive. Both focus on reclaiming healthy relationships, restoring a climate of respect, and responding to wrongdoing in criminal and non-criminal contexts in ways that build social capital, mutual trust and acceptance of diversity.
Gayle engaged in a participatory action research project to improve outcomes for Aboriginal children and families involved with child intervention services. Her work has been published by the Centre of Excellence for Child Welfare, Putting a human face on child welfare: Voices from the Prairies (2007), Chapter 8, “A Sacred Family Circle: Family Group Conferencing.” Gayle’s company, True Dialogue Inc., an official partner of the IIRP Graduate School, works to support a community’s capacity to be restorative.
Gayle enjoys empowering people to resolve conflicts by creating a safe space for parties to engage openly and honestly. As a restorative practitioner, she likens the experience to sitting on the front row seats of humanity.