Community Alliance & Peacemaking

Posted March 27, 2010 from United States

About Us


The Community Alliance and Peacemaking Project (CAPP) practices conflict resolution skills and strategies by helping people to come together to: • Clear up misunderstandings • Clear up disagreements • Alleviate or reduce racism/prejudice • Strategize to deal with environmental justice issues • Strategize to adapt to climate change • Practice violence reduction techniques • Build alliances and healthy relationships • Build youth leadership

Our small non-profit is a native and woman led organization whose work focuses primarily in rural tribal communities and urban Indian country throughout the Northwest region of the US and beyond.

Programs & Services

Our training events include traditional models of “peacemaking.” Values such as respect for self, the circle of life and mother earth are considered. Leadership skills such as ~ achieving consensus, collaboration, effective and cross-cultural communication skills, and alliance building, are introduced as strategies toward resolving conflicts and strengthening relationships! Our initiatives evolve youth leadership and community circles that bring community members together to deal with environmental justice issues and strategize for adapting to climate change impacts.

How our work relates to the Opportunity Collaboration retreat theme

Our work focuses on the area of youth leadership development and strategies for adapting to the increasing climate change impacts for the Swinomish tribal community. Swinomish is a Coast Salish fishing village located in Washington State near the border of Canada. Swinomish means people by the water and is surrounded by water on three sides of the reservation. Through the tribes Climate Change Initiative CAPP was contracted to raise awareness, educate and inform the tribal community and surrounding communities in Skagit and Island counties. CAPP immediately strategized to form a strong tribal community (public) interest group known as the Climate Change Education and Awareness Group (CEAG).

While CEAG is a mixed gender group, the leadership representing Elders, Youth and CAPP are women, thus this tribal community interest group is woman led.

Our mission is to raise awareness about climate change impacts, community engagement in planning for future adaptation, and the protection of mother earth.

Our strategy is to create strong circles of elders and youth for the purpose of protecting the earth and tribal cultural practices. Through the circle process elders and youth are engaged in a process of story sharing and skill building. Our youth will eventually spearhead the Protect Mother Earth Campaign work related to climate change adaptation. Much of the leadership will be developed through cohort groups that will participate in the CAPP leadership institute and complete a series of 10 workshops and produce a community project as a capstone project.

This work has been featured in CAPP publications and presentations, the tribal community paper – Kee Yoks, and partner publications and the cohort graduates will receive a certificate of completion in the CAPP Leadership Institute.


The evidence of our success has been seen over time and the Community Alliance & Peacemaking Project was born from the vast experience of our trainers. Specifically, our co-founder and current program director, Shelly Vendiola (Swinomish/Lummi/Filipina) has held leadership roles as the director of the Lummi CEDAR Project, Northwest Indian College faculty, and as a lead trainer for the Indian Dispute Resolution Services, Inc. She also served as the President of the national Indigenous Women’s Network and serves as an environmental justice educator.

Over time a number of strong native women leaders have merged through this collective leadership model and two of those women are Shasta Cano-Martin (Lummi) and Misty Oldham (Lummi/Spokane). For example, Shasta has taken on the role of Executive Director for the CEDAR Project after a strategy planning session, and moving through a difficult capacity building and project development process which was facilitated by CAPP. This collective leadership model had been introduced by the Kellogg Foundation to the Lummi CEDAR Project in previous years. This model is known to us as the Organized Generations model and is soon to be replicated at the Swinomish tribal community.

For more information please visit our CAPP website:

Comments 2

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Jade Frank
Apr 10, 2010
Apr 10, 2010

Ms. Vendiola,

Thank you for participating in our community and sharing the amazing work of your projects with us. I feel that you have so much knowledge and experience to continue sharing with our community that other women leaders could learn from. I hope you will share more with us in the future.

Warm regards, Jade

Umme Mahbuba
Apr 21, 2010
Apr 21, 2010

Hi Vendiola, This really amazing work that you are doing and the success of this project is inspiring. I look forward to hearing some more story of success and challenges of this project in you journal.

Thank you, Umme.