Galvgwodiyu means “It is sacred.”

What is Galvgwodiyu?

Galvgwodiyu (formerly “Beauty for Ashes”) is a community-based healing model that supports adult survivors of domestic violence, sexual abuse, and/or child abuse and neglect. Using peer-led learning circles, Galvgwodiyu aims to combat intergenerational trauma, restore resiliency, and to end cycles of domestic violence, physical and sexual abuse, and neglect in indigenous communities within this generation. The program was founded by the Family Wellness Warriors initiative of Southcentral Foundation in Alaska, and over the past several years has been adapted to meet the needs of the Cherokee community. Galvgwodiyu provides an opportunity for participants to take an active role in their own healing journey, and in turn, foster a place for healing in their own families and communities.

What are Learning Circles?

A key component of the Galvgwodiyu model is the concept of learning circles (sometimes referred to as “talking circles”). Learning circles provide safety and structure for learning and healing to occur. Trained facilitators lead learning circles to keep the group on track, to model story and responding, to redirect when necessary, and to maintain safety and structure in the group. A key element that sets learning circles apart from other types of groups is the participant-first model: learning circle leaders facilitate group while also engaging in group as a participant. There is no hierarchy. Talking circles are considered an effective behavioral health treatment practice for tribal communities.

Galvgwodiyu currently offers:

  • A 5-day training intensive to support adult survivors of domestic violence, sexual abuse, and/or child abuse and neglect. Participants hear stories and teachings from community members, covering a variety of topics (including harm experienced as well as harm caused). In small learning circles, participants are given the opportunity to explore and share their own personal stories. By “breaking the silence,” healing can occur. Following the 5-day training intensive, participants may choose to pursue additional training, including: Advanced Leadership Education & Training (or “ALET” – for participants interested in becoming a Learning Circle Leader at a future 5-day training event), and Presenter/Storyteller training (for participants interested in exploring and sharing their own story at a future 5-day training event).
  • Learning Circle Facilitation Training:  Participants learn key skills for starting and facilitating their own learning circles in the community.
  • Community Learning Circles:  Learning Circles are currently offered at Analenisgi and may include topics such as indigenous foods, cultural knowledge, etc.   

What Participants Have Said…

“Thank you for the gift of this program. I no longer feel alone in my story.”

“After each training I feel lighter.”

 “We entered as strangers, but left as a family. I’m forever grateful.”

“ I feel seen and heard.”

 “I learned how to respond better. When people share their story with me…I don’t need to try to ‘fix’ it. I just need to listen, and speak from the heart.”

To learn more about Galvgwodiyu or how you can participate, please call the Program Manager at:
(828) 497-9163 ext. 7557.


Interested in a career at Galvgwodiyu? View open positions by clicking here. 

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