The In Search of Your Warrior program (men), Spirit of A Warrior Program (women) and the TAPWE Youth Warrior Program (youth) were designed by Native Counselling Services of Alberta, to assist Aboriginal people who are caught in the cycle of violence. The Warrior programs usually requires 30 days to complete, based upon a six-hour program day. The programs are founded on the basic principles of Natural Law (caring, kindness, respect, love and self-determination), which are learned through ceremony and ritual. The Warrior Program is delivered by two trained facilitators, under the guidance and with the participation of an Elder; the typical group size is 10 – 14 participants.
The program has three primary goals:
To assist Aboriginal people to better understand their personal intergenerational cycle of violent behaviour. This includes: defining family violence; identifying the roots of their violent behaviour; considering the family/community context within which violence occurs; addressing feelings of vulnerability related to their experiences of victimization; and distinguishing between anger and rage.
To build knowledge and skills that will reduce and eventually eliminate violent behaviour in program participants.
To facilitate the participants’ connection and commitment to their life-long healing journey.
The ISOYW program is founded in holistic Aboriginal philosophy: the belief that all things are connected and that for sustainable change to occur, an individual must engage the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of self in the changing/learning/healing process. The program process includes activities and sessions that provide opportunities for such holistic learning. The process also includes daily ritual, frequent ceremony (chosen and led by the Elder), and sessions that encourage participants to explore core issues that underlie violent behaviour, such as their childhood experiences of violence, grief and loss, shame, trauma, childhood neglect and abandonment, as well as triggers for violent behaviour. Further, the participants learn about the intergenerational effects of colonization on the Aboriginal individual, family and community. In this process, the participant identifies his own cycle of violence and then can develop skills that will enable him to live a non-violent lifestyle.
The Warrior Programs employ a highly kinaesthetic and experiential learning process.
The Warrior Program sessions employ the rules and process of the sharing circle.
The men and women who facilitate Warrior program are highly skilled guides, role models and facilitators. Facilitators of the ISOYW program therefore require many important skills and characteristics:
· an in-depth, first-hand understanding of the healing process;
· knowledge of where they are on their own healing path;
· the capacity to take care of themselves emotionally and spiritually throughout the program; and
· the ability to motivate participants to engage in their healing journey.
Native Counselling Services of Alberta retains full responsibility for the Warrior programs; to this end we provide certification for people who have completed the program (Participant Certification), for those who successfully complete the facilitators training (Facilitator Certification) and for those who are responsible for the training of facilitators (Trainer Certification).
NCSA can provide the following services for communities and organizations:
NCSA can send facilitators to an organization or community to provide the Warrior programs. We work with the organization to recruit appropriate program participants, choose program location, ensure all necessary program resources are available, prepare community Elders to be a part of the program and provide the Certification of Program Completion for participants who successfully complete.
NCSA can help communities and organizations build capacity to facilitate the Warrior programs regularly for their membership or clientele. NCSA will help the organizations choose appropriate facilitator trainees, choose the training location, ensure all resources are available for the training and provide the Facilitator Certificates for the trainees that successfully complete training.