"Love always, in all ways. ALLways."
The restorative justice community mourns the too-soon passing of Kris Miner, circle keeper, restorative justice facilitator, trainer and mentor. She was the mother of Kylie. She passed to the ancestors March 29, 2022.
Circle is a life-long practice; the teacher becomes the student, the keeper is part of the community. So Kris taught so much to so many, not just about the principles of restorative justice, or the Indigenous wisdom inherent in circle done with integrity. She also taught others about training, about working with grief, about depression and transparency and community. She helped educators bring compassion and circle into their schools.
She was the executive director of St. Croix Restorative Justice for years, where she served the community leading circles with people: affected by harm; to encourage safe driving; to hold the grief of unexpected death. She worked also with the Minnesota Department of Corrections, and was the secretary/treasurer for the Minnesota Restorative Services Coalition for a time. She trained in a variety of states and communities for two decades. Then she was called back to the South Dakota ranch on which she grew up, to be with family and to work with her beautiful horses and caring dogs. She integrated her new and old life with her understanding of community, repairing harm and holding circle. She worked with Generation Red Road, partners in healing.
Kris was always brave, living what she taught. She helped so many people understand depression and suicide, and support and forgiveness. They, in turn, offered their support. The Shakespeare Sonnet 30: When to the sessions of sweet silent thought fits her legacy, because she was the dear friend for so many people, dark times or no.
It is ironic that a woman who spent her work life healing others was not able to get physical healing in the end. But Kris always gathered in spiritual, communal emotional healing with those who knew her: “Fierce passionate woman.” “Woman of Steel.” “Her gift was to keep giving, even in her last days.” “This is my friend…”
But I loved your smile, which spreads as wide as the South Dakota Prairie and reaches as high as the South Dakota sky. I cherished your laughter. I cherish your unending hope for each of us to be in community, to honor all our relations, to stop and feel the gentle softness of a horse’s nose, to hold the heart shaped stone, to see the rainbow in the sky. You live in our hearts, always.