“We approach our lives on different trajectories, each of us spinning in our own separate, shining orbits. What gives this life its resonance is when those trajectories cross and we become engaged with each other, for as long or as fleetingly as we do. There's a shared energy then, and it can feel as though the whole universe is in the process of coming together. I live for those times. No one is truly ever "just passing through." Every encounter has within it the power of enchantment, if we're willing to look for it.”

Richard Wagamese, Embers: One Ojibway's Meditations

Relationships are Medicine

A Relational Approach to Lateral Violence

Denise Findlay has been in the field and collaborated with over 120 communities conducting research for the past 10 years on what she refers to as a phenomenon people are now naming Lateral Violence. Although a newly popular term, this issue has been with us since the the effects of residential school became evident. As a bi-cultural woman, Denise’s approach is rare. Taking a feminist and healing approach to this perplexing issue in a field where approaches can be instrumental, Denise is a fresh of breath air. She speaks to the heart of the matter and to the heart of her audience.

If you are seeking a gentle wisdom based approach that incorporates Indigenous perspectives, that aims to build true capacity and provide insight to this deeply emotional issue then Denise Findlay will share what she has learned over the last decade and you won’t be disappointed. Denise offers an experiential, inspirational and fun workshop designed to bring diverse groups of people together to contemplate how to move forward with a good mind and heart.

The social challenges that exist in our communities are complex. Violence manifests in a variety of forms. We see everything from self harm; cutting and suicide to more subversive forms of harm such as sabotage; bullying and aggression. Although there are no easy answers it is important that we shed light on these issues and more importantly are able to gather to discuss the root causes of such problems and how to manifest change for our future generations. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and we believe that education can empower people to make different choices that will in turn transform the way we live and work together.

The Aboriginal Healing Foundation has done a national study on Lateral Violence that I recommend as a resource. 

It Takes A Village Training

Working Together Towards Healing

We are social creatures that have traditionally flourished in community. We are not meant to go it alone. The need to belong is one we can all identify with. Belonging brings us great joy, a sense of identity, security and most importantly relationships with those whom we have something deeply in common. 

Our elders tell us that in the long ago our communities were founded on our inter-generational relationships with each other, the earth, animals and ancestors. An ethical relational way of being and knowing has ensured our survival for centuries. All of our working, living, and celebrating unfolded in the spirit of inclusiveness and belonging. A connection to the land, animals, cosmos and each other provided the context for us to all be on the same side working together for the benefit of the community. 

Contemporary life has changed the way live and work. Those of us who have experienced the alienation that is a product of contemporary life can speak to the deep wounding affect this has had on our body, mind and spirit that has led to a breakdown in our communities. The oppressive affects of colonization and residential school have impacted many generations resulting in dysfunction and ultimately lateral violence throughout every context in our communities. There is much hope though. Drawing on our resiliency as Indigenous peoples and with vision and dedication we can repair our relationships and begin to heal our communities.

Participants will be supported to…

  • Integrate indigenous perspectives and approaches to understanding and transforming lateral violence and creating environments that promote safety, wellness, and health;
  • Develop the confidence and capacity to effectively respond to lateral violence in ways that honor traditional life ways and that lead to increased wellness and healing;
  • Explore ways to transform the affects of ethno-stress, intergenerational trauma and residential school by supporting individual and collective development, creation of a new vision, healing, a holistic approach;
  • Practice embodying ways of being in response to lateral violence that de-escalates conflict, increases awareness and understanding and promotes safety for everyone;
  • Discuss the importance of prevention initiatives and what global bullying research tells us about effective approaches to a growing problem. Where should we be focusing our energies?
  • Engage in experiential, interactive and art-based activities that promote relationship building, integration of learning and growth.