people in new stuyahok gather in the gymnasium for a circle

In August 22-24, 2017, Rural Cap sponsored a “Circle Peacemaking Facilitation Training” workshop here in Anchorage, Alaska. In the training the participants learned and shared diverse processes and purposes of the “Circle” to mediate harm and conflict, while supporting youth in a manner aligned with community values. As a tool, the “Circle” can divert youth offenders from the State justice system, while supporting them in school-based and other tribal community settings.

There were three participants from the community of New Stuyahok and after they completed the “Circle” workshop they introduced their community with the “Circle” process. They held three Circle sessions with their community and each session grew in the number of participants. The first one session there were 27 participants and then the second 73 participants and the last they had 100 participants. The first session was held during their wellness conference that was scheduled before Thanksgiving and the theme was on “Trauma”. The second session’s theme was “Something positive about our gathering”, and the last session was held during their family night and the theme was “Holiday Wishes”.

The three participants showed that the “Circle” can be useful in their community and the numbers of participants shows its positivity. They also found that the Circle was getting too large and they are recommending that they start dividing the participants into age groups. New Stuyahok has over a thousand residents. Kudos to the participants in utilizing this wonderful tool.