Indigenous Groups and Organizations

Denise Findlay is a bi-cultural women of Coast Salish and European descent living and working within her own community of the Squamish Nation. Denise has collaborated with over 120 Indigenous communities and organizations throughout Canada as a Consultant and Educator. Most well known for her pioneering work in the area of Lateral Violence Denise is dedicated to empowering those working for and living within Indigenous contexts. Through an integration of Indigenous and Western ways of knowing Denise facilitates learning processes that are transformative and healing. Her approach is inclusive and supports participants to tap into their own individual and collective potential to actively take part in the healing process of the communities they serve.

Denise holds a Master’s Degree in Contemplative Education from Simon Fraser University and successfully creates opportunities for people to develop greater self-understanding through exploration of Indigenous and Contemplative ways of knowing. Denise embodies a way of being in the world that is deeply humanistic and rooted in a philosophy of one heart one mind, a deep spirituality and connection to place. Denise believes that reconciliation and healing begins with self-knowledge that leads to a deepened understanding or ones self and others, forgiveness, kindness, compassion and love. Denise has a deep and broad understanding of Developmental Attachment Theory and undertakes a Trauma Informed Approach towards all that she does.

Specifically, Denise has extensive experience and success working within the fields of First Nations Health, Child and Family Services, Education, Mental Health, and Community Wellness. Clients include leaders, teams, parents, community members, social-workers educators, and other helping professionals.

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“In Indigenous community everyone was a teacher, and everyone, at one time or another, was a learner. By watching, listening, experiencing and participating everyone learned what is was to be one of the People, and how to survive in community with others.”

Gregory Cajete, PhD.Indigenous Scholar and Author of Look To The Mountain

Training & Development

Denise’s diverse background, extensive experience and advanced education enable her to create unique, experiential, and inclusive training sessions that engage both the hearts and minds of participants. Denise is most frequently asked to customize workshops on Lateral Violence and Lateral Kindness Training….

Relationships Are Medicine…A Compassionate Response to Lateral Violence

Denise has been in the field researching and supporting new ways of responding to lateral violence for over 15 years. Unlike other approaches to Lateral Violence Denise stands firmly in the knowledge that there are no short cuts or easy answers. Her approach is one that takes people to the root of the problem and into their own hearts to find a solution. Intergenerational trauma has impacted everyone in one way or another and the solutions enacted must be community centred promoting both individual and collective healing and wellness. Denise was engaged by the First Nations Health Directors Association in 2015 to develop a curriculum to introduce a Lateral Kindness movement to Health Directors throughout British Columbia. As a result Denise enacted her formal education and lived experience in regards to historical and emerging knowledges on moral development including empathy, kindness and compassion.  Denise continues to focus on creating transformative educational experiences that support the growth of these dispositions in those who have been impacted by trauma.

Lateral Violence and Kindness Training can be customized for leaders, teams, community members, parents, educators, social workers and other helping professionals.  

To read more….

Indigenous Organizations

“Through formal and informal methods students were encouraged to find their face (develop and express their innate character and potential); to find their heart (search out and express their inner passion); and to explore foundations of life and work (find the vocation that allowed the student the fullest expression of self and truth).”

Gregory Cajete, PhD.Indigenous Scholar and Author of Look To The Mountain


Denise has experience developing and facilitating workshops and presentations on the following topics….

  • Our Role in Healing the Legacy of Residential Schools
  • A Traditional Approach to Trauma Informed Care
  • Cultivating Health & Wellness
  • From Lateral Violence to Lateral Kindness …exploring the importance of safety, Indigenous Ways of Knowing, Lateral Violence and Impacts of Intergenerational trauma, Aggression, Bullying, Kindness, Relationship Work, Communication Toxins, Working with Power
  • Introduction to meditation and visualization practices
  • Reducing gossip and third party power
  • Models of change and transformation, personally and collectively
  • The spirit of inquiry and curiosity required for constructive dialogue
  • Navigating and understanding change in systems
  • Engaging in effective feedback conversations
  • Exploring an Indigenous worldview, developing awareness of our own worldview and experiences that shaped who we are today
  • Developing ourselves as instruments of reconciliation
  • Utilizing contemplative inquiry to remain present, curious and open to different perspectives
  • Practice mindfulness meditation and visioning as a method of self-care, grounding oneself, deepening awareness, and attaining clarity and focus
  • Self-development and building internal capacity to take care of oneself, increase confidence, manage stress, stay grounded and navigate the complexities and personalities within the organization and community
  • A Relational/indigenous model and theory of human development and growth across the lifespan to help understand and work with the impacts of trauma intuitively
  • Best practices for developing relationships with peers and community members
Indigenous Groups Organizations

Recommended reading…

look to the mountain
indigenous healing
returning to the teachings
dancing with a ghost


Denise provides consulting to leaders and teams to help address issues hindering organizational productivity, change management, communication, interpersonal difficulties amongst staff including conflict, and processes designed to increase positivity and creativity. Denise has worked extensively with many leaders to create customized approaches to complex dynamics involving employees and community members. Denise will work with you to support employee and community member capacity development while working from a deep understanding of the complexities and challenges unique to Indigenous peoples.

Organizational & Team Assessments

Denise will develop assessment tools to identify issues hindering organizational productivity and positivity. Assessments can be conducted in person or via customized electronic survey. During the interview process themes are revealed and planning for future small and large group sessions unfold as a result of the information provided. Most importantly staff will have the opportunity to indicate their interest in engaging in ongoing one to one support on a regular basis or to indicate a challenge area that they would specifically like support around.

This also provides a broad overview of the dynamics and helps the consultant to establish trust and form a relationship with each individual team member.

Employee and Leadership Coaching

Denise is one of the first Accredited First Nations coaches in Canada. She holds a designation from The Coaches Training Institute and is Accredited by the International Coaches Federation. Denise has over 15 years’ experience coaching individuals in both personal and professional settings. Professional coaching brings many wonderful benefit including fresh perspectives on personal challenges, enhanced decision-making skills, greater interpersonal effectiveness, and increased confidence. Those who undertake coaching also can expect appreciable improvement in productivity, satisfaction with life and work, and the attainment of relevant goals.

Coaching takes place one on one either in person, over the phone or via Skype. Sessions are typically 1 hour long and it is suggested that those who engage in personal coaching commit to 1 to 2 sessions per month for a minimum of 4 to 6 months after which time the coaching can be delivered on an as needed basis. The appropriate length and duration of the support will be determined by the client. The client will be coached to clarify specific goals for the coaching relationship and all sessions will be focused on one of two things…. deepening the learning or forwarding action. Coaching is confidential and provides clients with a safe space in which to self -reflect and explore issues that may feel outside of their comfort zone to explore in the context of their working relationships. The knowledge gained through this process can be integrated back into the workplace as the client continues to grow and evolve.

Small & Large Group Facilitation

Denise has extensive experience providing small and large group facilitation on an as needed basis. For instance, if individuals are having difficulty getting along or an incident has occurred that is impacting productivity and positivity Denise will be available to facilitate a group process leading to greater understanding and improved working relationships. Denise is trained in facilitating Restorative Circles and has extensive training in Organizational Systems and Process Psychology. Small and large group facilitation is generally utilized to address a specific event or situation in order to achieve resolution and increase understanding. Often it utilized to assist group members to navigate systemic changes impacting their role within the system. Group facilitation and coaching is best used preventatively prior to a situation escalating to a stage where members of the group are no longer willing to work towards resolution.


Denise delivered her first three day session to the staff and with compassion and support she began to make significant inroads into identifying the issues and concerns and providing recommendations to address same. What initially most impressed me with Denise was her ability to make people comfortable to speak to the issues; which for many, took a great deal of courage in a group setting. Most importantly, she made people feel safe in sharing their personal information regarding the organization and the effect it had on them as individuals.

Keith MarshallHealth Director - Hailika’as Heiltsuk Health Centre

The work of the Kweykway team is inclusive of understanding Indigenous knowledge’s which centre my own practice as a facilitator of social justice. Being grounded in Indigenous ways is necessary for understanding the trauma and trauma related challenges impacting Indigenous Aboriginal populations across North America. Denise is a superb teacher and team project leader capable of helping in visioning a design and delivery of a product to raise individual, family, and community consciousness leading to what I call “heart centred” results and conclusions.

As Kweykway’s  leader, Denise has a lived experience of “indigenous world hurts’ along with appropriate responses to tragedy and challenges that have touched her at both ends of a bi-cultural world. Engaging with her experience, collaborative consultation, and knowledge will surely move you, your family, and your community  towards where you want to be.

Dr. Stephen W. KozeyB.A., M.S.W., M.A., M.Ed., Ed.D., R.S.W. - Social Justice Facilitator and Educator

It has been a privilege to facilitate sessions hosted by Denise. These sessions have given me those aha! Moments in my work and for my personal life too. Denise is professional gentile and knowledgable with the matters she speaks on, but Denise goes deeper then what is normally presented at any lecture on issues of child rearing and children’s behaviour. We will keep inviting her back as long as she will attend!

'T'oyaxsut 'nüünLeena Minifie, Program Coordinator - UBC Centre for Excellence in Indigenous Health |UBC Learning Circle

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