Program to enhance First Nations inherent rights to healing and wellness
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 27, 2023
ANISHINAABE AND DAKOTA TERRITORY, MB — The Southern Chiefs’ Organization (SCO) is pleased to announce the launch of a Traditional Healers Program. This important program will be launched in ceremony at 11 am this morning.
“I’ve heard time and time again from SCO Chiefs that we need to do all we can to reclaim our wellness and that this must include access to Traditional healing modalities,” said SCO Grand Chief Jerry Daniels. “The Traditional Healers Program will help us combat the devastating impacts of colonialism by providing our citizens with safe and reliable access to healers and ceremonies.”
Providing culturally appropriate health and wellness services is a key component of SCO’s strategic direction and aligns with the broader goal of health transformation. First Nations have practiced traditional healing and wellness since time immemorial.
The objective of the Traditional Healers Program is to provide the citizens of southern First Nations in our territories with greater access to traditional methods of healing. Enabling access to traditional healing will also provide connection to heritage and culture, creating an innate protective factor for our relatives who are struggling with all forms of trauma and the health concerns that come with it.
“The Traditional Healers Program will help us address the significant disparities between the health and wellness of First Nations people and non-First Nations people in Manitoba,” shared Chief Cornell McLean of the Lake Manitoba First Nation. “First Nations people have survived countless attempts to destroy our cultural practices, ceremonies, and languages. SCO’s new Traditional Healers Program is one way to provide support to our citizens in healing from the intergenerational harms that so many of our people have experienced.”
SCO continually strives to combat the effects of historical trauma, systemic and institutional racism, and government policies of assimilation. The healing of our Nations is supported when our people receive opportunities to connect to their heritage, culture, and lands. In January, SCO launched our Harm Reduction and Land-Based Healing Program, supporting southern First Nations with funds to go out on the land. SCO also provides harm reduction supplies such as fentanyl test strips, nasal Narcan, and safer sex supplies, at no cost.
“Every day, I am witness to Anishinaabe and Dakota peoples assuming greater control and self-determination over our health and wellness,” added Grand Chief Daniels. “I am excited to see this program launch as every SCO-member Nation deserves a culturally responsive, trauma-informed and appropriate program that will utilize southern Traditional Healers to meet the needs of southern Anishinaabe and Dakota individuals, families and communities.”
Traditional and cultural healing practices are wholistic, treating the spirit, mind, body, and emotions of participants. Traditional practices protected communities and families, helping First Nations to flourish and adapt and survive colonization.
The Traditional Healers will provide healing, wellness, counsel, and guidance to the citizens of the southern First Nations. Traditional Healers may also provide traditional medicines as part of healing services and may provide healing services in a number of ways. These methods of healing may include sweatlodges, sundances, naming ceremonies, pipe ceremonies, water ceremonies, grief/memorial ceremonies, cedar bath ceremonies, and more.
For more information on SCO’s Traditional Healers Program and how to access service and supports, visit: www.scoinc.mb.ca/traditionalhealers
The Southern Chiefs’ Organization represents 34 First Nations and more than 83,000 citizens in what is now called southern Manitoba. SCO is an independent political organization that protects, preserves, promotes, and enhances First Nations peoples’ inherent rights, languages, customs, and traditions through the application and implementation of the spirit and intent of the Treaty-making process.
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