Circle of Courage

The Circle of Courage

I attended a conference in Edmondon, Canada back in April and one of the key moments in the conference was hearing from Dr. Martin Brokenleg present the circle of courage. There are four pillars to the philosophy that aim to reclaim our lost youth at risk


This meets the deep need in us to belong and asks us to look at all our kin as being part of us. In this way you are part of creating a community of belonging and your community creates a space for you to belong. In no way can you be let down in this type of community because if family died , or were unable to meet your needs; its ok because your tribe your community would catch you.


There is no competition because everyone has something to offer and those with more skills, we look to them for guidance not as rivals. This pillar is about feeling competent that we have something to offer and we have the ability  to learn/


Inner discipline is encouraged, children encouraged and supported to make decisions and to solve problems and this is celebrated.


This is really summed up on in the words of the Lakota elder “You should be able to give away your most cherished possession without your heart beating faster.”  This is the pay it forward mentality in that you help others as a way of understanding your own worth and value, that you have something to offer and your existence eased the pain or suffering of another or just lightened their load.

These are simple and powerful and a child having this guidance and support systems has the opportunity to flourish. We need better elders in the community and we need to build better communities.  To mirror those around us to show them that we see them and they matter and to receive them when they reflect this back to us.