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If you observe nature you will find circles everywhere. They are in the nests of birds, the currents in our oceans, and even in the many galaxies in our universe. Circles are everywhere!

People from around the world, if they go back to their own ancestry, will find their relatives sitting in Circle discussing the hunt, celebrating a new birth, or helping a family mourning the passing of an elder. Indigenous cultures used circles to deepen connections, repair harm, and ensure the community thrived. It is important as we hold Circles that we honor where they began and acknowledge their origins.

You may have heard the term restorative practices. This broad term refers to an area of study of how to strengthen individual relationships and community social connections.

Restorative justice is a subset of restorative practices and forms the basis for the philosophy that is at the foundation of Circles. The modern use of restorative justice is focused on the criminal justice system and its process to repair harm between the three spheres affected by crime: the victim, the offender, and the community.

If you are an educator or work in the criminal justice system, you may be familiar with restorative practices or restorative justice. The restorative in this context is important because we must ask ourselves to what are we are restoring. In some cases, connection or justice has always been absent. For this reason, a good place to start is with community building, or weaving, in Circle.

In this module, you will learn a variety of ways to support what you already do in your work around community building. The four aspects of community building are Getting Acquainted, Building Trust, Decision Making and Community Building. In various videos, readings and exercises, you will learn about the different types of Circles, how they can be used to support the community building process and lead difficult conversations, and the essentials needed to guide your own Circle.