First Nations

My NVC work with First Nations people evolved after a phone conversation in early 2002 with Leslie Williamson. Leslie, currently living in Vernon, BC, is a First Nations woman of the Wolf Clan of the Vuntut Gwitch’in Nation of the Yukon Territory. During our conversation, she expressed excitement after reading Dr. Marshall Rosenberg’s book, “Nonviolent Communication, a Language of Life” and wanted to know how she might begin to share NVC with her people. Already renowned as facilitator of healing and nutrition workshops that she had offered First Nations across Canada since 1993, Leslie told me she was fascinated by the similarity of Nonviolent Communication and traditional First Nations values. She believed that NVC learning might significantly assist her people to connect with their own empowerment, clarity and purpose as they revisited those values.

Thus we began to work together, Leslie patiently teaching me First Nations history and culture and me sharing my NVC knowledge with her. Since that phone conversation three years ago, Leslie has offered NVC to many British Columbia native communities including Lytton, Hazelton, Smithers and Lillooet. Together we’ve offered NVC in Kitwanga and Vernon, BC and also in Burwash Landing in the Yukon to the Kluane Nation there. Leslie also took NVC to Mayo in the Yukon and to Toronto Ontario. Through the Inter Tribal Health Authority on Vancouver Island, I worked with various bands near my Nanaimo home, including the Cowichan Band south of Nanaimo, and the Tsartlip and Paquachin peoples of Victoria.

In April of 2005, Leslie and I worked with Jackie Gonzales of the Squamish Nation in Vancouver BC to organize an NVC event for First Nations people. We were very fortunate to have Dr. Marshall Rosenberg, founder of the international Center for Nonviolent Communication facilitate and donate his time for this 2-day event. About 150 people from across Canada attended, including some people from the Assembly of First Nations. Feedback has been very positive with requests for further NVC training from across the country.

We’ve also enjoyed wonderful support from Puddledancer Press, publishers of Dr. Rosenberg’s book, Nonviolent Communication, A Language of Life. Puddledancer Press has donated many books to First Nations to assist with their learning of the NVC process.

While I am always pleased to respond to questions about NVC by phone or email, my hope in working with First Nations is that I support First Nations people to continue their own teaching and practice of NVC. For this reason, I would encourage all First Nations communities wishing NVC learning to contact Leslie Williamson to arrange a workshop through her. Leslie can be contacted by phone at 250-549-4707 or by email through: gwitchen@hotmail.com


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Copyright © 2010 Penny Wassman