Circle Facilitator Workshop

August 13-15, 2019

Circle Facilitator Workshop

Our communities utilized the Circle process for many things with different methods, names, and protocol.  It is vital to create balance in our communities and support overall health and wellness.  The circle is not only approved by our Ancestors, but is also an evidence-based tool that has been proven a useful tool in juvenile delinquency, alcohol/substance abuse, and conflict resolution. 

Group photo at RurAL CAP

About the Workshop

On August 13-15, 2019 members from various Alaskan Tribal communities gathered at a Circle Facilitator workshop to learn, exchange knowledge and practice how Circles are being utilized by Tribal Courts to improve outcomes for tribal youth. 

The 3-day workshop provided a highly interactive setting where participants working with youth had the opportunity to partake in a circle facilitator role using under-age drinking cases as a real-life scenario. 


  • Lisa Jaeger, Tribal Government Specialist presented on tribal court codes and ways for tribal court to take cases as well as restorative justice;
  • Kimberly Martus, RurAL CAP Community Technical Assistance Coordinator, spoke on the topic of Juvenile Healing to Wellness Courts – particularly the tribal ten key components when considering the specific and unique needs of youth;
  • Curt Shuey of the Kenaitze Indian Tribe led the Circle Process with an overview on Circle Peacemaking and Circle Keeping guidelines.
  • Helen Gregorio of Togiak, presented on Tribal Healing to Wellness Court used in Togiak when working with the youth and family to reduce criminal offenses through therapeutic and cultural interventions – all with the mission to improve the safety of the community.

At the end of the training, participants had more understanding and awareness of the Alaska tribal court system and procedural steps in using a circle process as a way of resolving disputes and conflicts, maintained peace and delivering justice through the use of traditional values, customs, and practices. 

Circle Keeper

  • Learning to facilitate a circle
  • Gaining new insight as a circle keeper

Click to view the photos:

Type of audience for workshop:

  • Alaska Grantees (Juvenile Healing to Wellness Courts)
  • Tribal Court (council members)
  • Tribal Communities
  • Magistrate Judges
  • State Attorneys 

What is Circle Peacemaking?

Circle Keeping (Circle Process)

VIDEO by Mike Jackson – 2003

This video — produced by the Organized Village of Kake — depicts the restoration of traditional methods of dispute resolution the Organized Village of Kake adopted Circle Peacemaking as its tribal court in 1999. Circle Peacemaking brings together victims, wrongdoers, families, religious leaders, and social service providers in a forum that restores relationships and community harmony. With a recidivism rate of nearly zero, it is especially effective in addressing substance abuse-associated crimes.

Helpful Resource Links

Circle Peacemaking – Kake Method

Circle Peacemaking – Kenaitze Indian Tribe

Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA)

Funding Opportunity

Upward of $200,000 dollars

ABOUT:  Indian Affairs (IA) is the oldest agency of the United States Department of the Interior. Established in 1824, IA currently provides services (directly or through contracts, grants, or compacts) to approximately 1.9 million American Indians and Alaska Natives. There are 573 federally recognized American Indian tribes and Alaska Native Villages in the United States. Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) is responsible for the administration and management of 55 million surface acres and 57 million acres of subsurface minerals estates held in trust by the United States for American Indian, Indian tribes, and Alaska Natives. Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) provides education services to approximately 42,000 Indian students.

BIA – Office of Justice Services

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION:  The Tribal court assessment (“TCA”) evaluates tribal needs and provide tribes with recommendations for improving their operational activities by following the Tribal Court Performance Standards (TCPS), which are modified to meet the specific needs of tribal courts.

It is up to the Tribal Justice Support (TJS) Directorate to conduct tribal court assessments to ensure justice in tribal forums is properly administered. This process involves the TJS assessment team working with the Tribe collecting and observing documents regarding Tribal constitution, Tribal codes, and court procedures. Once the specific needs of each tribal court are highlighted, then the TJS Directorate can provide strategic action plan that involves hands-on training, recommendations and technical assistance to help strengthen the Tribe’s court system.

Tribal Justice Support

TJS can provide one-time funding awards for tribal court trainings, equipment, office furniture, management systems, certain contract positions, consulting services, and alcohol monitoring systems. TJS can also work with 638 Tribes to increase base court funding levels. Tribes may submit one-time funding requests each year. Contact (202) 208-5787 and ask for Tribal Justice Support to obtain more information.

Rule:  Submit one-time funding request per year.

BIA: Resource Links


RurAL CAP All rights reserved.
This project was supported by Award No. 2016-TY-FX-K001 awarded to the Rural Community Action Program Alaska Native Youth Training and Technical Assistance Project, by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Office of Justice Programs.

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