The Walking in Balance with All Our Relations teaching curriculum is a violence prevention bystander approach that is based on the traditional values of indigenous people prior to colonization. The curriculum is designed to decolonize indigenous peoples and reclaim historical ways of being in the community. The curriculum speaks of historical trauma and is meant to serve as a way of being in indigenous communities that would prevent the incidence of all forms of violence. It is also designed to be embraced by multicultural groups seeking an intersectional understanding of structural racism and how it informs the prevention of sexual and domestic violence.
Visioning B.E.A.R.’s Walking in Balance training recognized by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.
These values include peace and justice, compassion, respect, generosity, courage, wisdom, sacredness, humility, empathy, balance, gratitude, and connection to the land. Elders teach and mentor adults and children in the community. The Visioning B.E.A.R. (Balance, Equality, and Respect) Circle Intertribal Coalition, a survivor-led organization, co-authored the curriculum after embarking on a two-and-a-half-year journey to learn what the elders had to say about living with peace and justice with all living beings.
The curriculum is divided into thirteen three-hour modules and is designed to serve as a way of life. Those who complete all thirteen modules are certified as teachers of the curriculum.
“This has affected me in a very good way. I think regardless of the communities we consider ourselves a part of, we need to do this more, get together more, talk to each other more.”
— Comment after undergoing Walking in Balance training
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A key component of the curriculum involves using the Circle Process for teaching healing and transformative/restorative practices in eliminating violence against children and Mother Earth.
Plants and animals are relatives that provide medicine for the people. They are equal to human beings, having the same psychology and need for respect as humans do. Relationships with all beings need to be reciprocal and based on appreciation for the gifts each relation provides to the well-being of the whole of creation.
Using the Talking Stick Circle Process, this curriculum highlights the intersections of gender equity and expression, structures based on true democracy, economic justice, environmental justice and their role in preventing all forms of interpersonal violence. The curriculum develops participants’ capacity for empathy in providing healing for both those who are harmed and those who cause harm.
Commitment to conflict resolution among all beings resonates throughout the curriculum. Conflict resolution using Circle Process empowers the community to promote healthy, safe, and equitable relationships. It is expected that those trained will work to transform systems that promote inequity and harm in tangible ways to address the structural harm that is the root of the sexual and physical violence children experience.
Goals and objectives for training:
The curriculum is evaluated in a culturally appropriate story-telling format that yields both qualitative and quantitative data. The evaluation process is seamlessly integrated into the teaching modules.
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