The International Institute for Restorative Practices Canada (IIRP Canada) is pleased to welcome two new members to the team, Gayle Desmeules, who will serve as the Regional Representative for Western Canada, and Peggy Barrette, who joins the team as a bilingual trainer and consultant providing learning opportunities in French as well as in English.
Desmeules, who joins IIRP Canada as an Indigenous trainer, facilitator and consultant, will provide restorative learning opportunities to address the transmission of violence linked to the experience of residential school and colonization. Her work aims to advance the process of Canadian Reconciliation in response to Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission: Calls to Action.
“I am attracted to the IIRP’s relational focus,” Desmeules says. “It is harmonious with the Indigenous worldview: all living things are interconnected and interdependent for survival. Creating space to address underlying injustices and wrongdoing, to promote healing and reconciliation, is not only necessary for the person being harmed. It is equally important for everyone around that person, since we are all connected and have an influence on each other.”
Desmeules comes to IIRP Canada with 30 years experience in the social, justice, recreation, culture and community development fields. Most notable is her passion for working for the betterment of Indigenous people. She specializes in using circle processes to promote engagement, relationship building and problem solving on an individual, family and community level, as well as system reform for the benefit children and youth at-risk. Desmeules’ model of historic trauma recovery can be incorporated into any practice setting. She is experienced in family and workplace mediation, writes Gladue pre-sentence court reports for Aboriginal offenders and provides restorative resolution services.
Desmeules was born in Nipigon, Ontario (near Thunder Bay). Her Indigenous ancestry is connected to James Bay Cree First Nations and Red River Métis. She is a child of a residential school survivor. Desmeules attended elementary and secondary school education in Edmonton, Alberta. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Recreation Administration, specializing in community development and Indigenous studies. She graduated from Royal Roads University with Honours, Master of Arts in Leadership and Training. Her work “A Sacred Circle: Family Group Conferencing” was published as chapter 8 in Putting a Human Face on Child Welfare: Voices from the Prairie.
Peggy Barrette comes to IIRP Canada with 32 years in the field of education. Most recently, Barrette retired from her position of elementary school principal with the Trillium Lakelands District School Board, where she led professional learning in French as well as in English.
“I was attracted by the IIRP’s way of thinking,” Barrette said. “In today’s world relationships, community building and the ability to solve problems amicably are more important than ever.”
Barrette was born and raised in Hearst, a small French-speaking community in Northern Ontario. Her elementary and secondary school education was completed in French (FFL). She graduated from Lakehead University with an Honours Bachelor of Arts, majoring in French, a Bachelor of Education and a Master in Educational Administration.
“Restorative practices changed the way I did business,” Barrette acknowledges.