Circles of Support and Change Project

Karla Stevens

Circles of Support and Change - Indigenous Knowledge Coordinator

Tonya Pelley

Circles of Support and Change - African Nova Scotian Communities Community Facilitator

Michelle Newell

Circles of Support and Change – Canso and Area Community Facilitator

Danielle Martell

Circles Of Support And Change – NSCC Strait Area And Richmond County Community Facilitator

Project overview

Full name:

The Circles of Support and Change Project: Transferring Successful Rural Indigenous Practices to Other Rural Contexts to Address Gender-Based Violence


November 2019 to March 2024


Women and Gender Equality Canada


  • The historic African Nova Scotian rural settlements of Upper Big Tracadie, Sunnyville, and Lincolnville
  • Canso and Area
  • Nova Scotia Community College Strait Area Campus and Richmond County

About the Project

The Circles of Support and Change Project uses a strengths-based, trauma-informed approach to centre the voices of survivors of gender-based violence in supportive circles that include their chosen families, community members, educators, and service providers. In facilitated circles, survivors and supporters develop and lead initiatives to address gender-based violence, as guided by culturally and community relevant healing, wellness, and advocacy practices.

The Circles of Support and Change Project builds upon learning from the community-led, community-based, Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation model, a model that has been shared with other Indigenous communities. The project draws on local community wisdom to address gender-based violence and foster societal change.

we Do

Our Circles of Support and Change team works on:

  • Establishing partnerships and building connections for survivors in our communities to find, access, and navigate formal and informal resources
  • Strengthening the capacity and resiliency of leaders in our communities to work towards grassroots change
  • Creating spaces for healing from all forms of trauma in our communities and encouraging all people to create inclusive communities free from violence, prejudice, shame, and oppressions, like racism and sexism
  • Raising community awareness of gender-based violence, consent, and healthy relationships
  • Upholding our unique community values while understanding and acting upon the Mi’kmaq sacred teachings of bravery, love, honesty, wisdom, truth, humility, patience, and respect.
  • Equipping survivors in our communities with skills to guide them in their healing journeys, as well as their supporters with skills to help restore wellness
  • Supporting self-care practices for survivors in our communities to uplift themselves and to help guide one another

How we Work

Our Circles of Support and Change team believes in creating opportunities for women to heal and regain a collective, community sisterhood. In helping to lower and remove barriers in society that face women everyday, our Circles of Support and Change team supports the change and growth of all our communities.


Care of ourselves and of our communities is important to us. We continue to work, though in changed ways following public health guidelines related to the
COVID-19 pandemic.

Reach out via phone or email to know more about these changes.