"Promising healing practices are based on an Aboriginal worldview and on the values and philosophy of the community. They are holistic in nature and they strive to help participants restore balance and harmony to their lives. Connections to the natural environment and to other people, especially families, are encouraged and respected. Programs are designed to address the whole person and to meet their physical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs." Aboriginal Healing Foundation, Canada
Necessary Elements for Healing
"To summarize, the framework includes three necessary elements' of successful programs - Aboriginal values and worldview, personal and cultural safety, and capacity to heal; and “three pillars of healing” - reclaiming history, cultural interventions and therapeutic healing. They are based on lessons from the field, especially the practical, grassroots wisdom of community healing teams who work with these issues every day.
Applying this framework should result in successful programs aimed at healing from the dark aftereffects of the residential school system.
Healing programs will naturally reflect community goals and conditions, as well as individual needs and aspirations. They will incorporate the cultures and traditions of the community and the special needs of particular target groups, such as women, men and youth.
The framework is based on the best knowledge we have been able to gather on successful healing programs and, as such, it can be an effective tool for program design." Final Report of the Aboriginal Healing Foundation (Canada) , Volume III, Promising Healing Practices in Aboriginal Communities, by Linda Archibald.
"The Western approach to give a medicine is still just another way of treating the symptom. It's not really looking at the cause of the behaviour." This film looks at the importance of Native American traditional approaches, which in this case are used alongside standard Western approaches.
Dr Joe Solanto talks about healing from intergenerational healing, including its contagious nature.
Implications for Programme Design
"Promising healing practices include the necessary elements and three pillars of healing set out in the healing framework:
• Promising healing practices are based on an Aboriginal worldview and on the values and philosophy of the community. They are holistic in nature and they strive to help participants restore balance and harmony to their lives. Connections to the natural environment and to other people, especially families, are encouraged and respected. Programs are designed to address the whole person and to meet their physical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs.
• Promising healing practices build personal and cultural safety into programs and services... Cultural safety is created by providing environments that reflect the unique culture and traditions of the community. Such environments affirm Aboriginal identity and foster feelings of belonging. Many projects accomplish this by incorporating on-the-land activities into their programs.
• Promising healing practices include an educational component that provides information about the history and impacts of residential schools and the history of Aboriginal people and communities. In addition to providing an historical context for understanding personal issues, this encourages the development of cultural pride. Incorporated into the therapeutic healing process, it allows for a process of acknowledging and mourning the many losses associated with forced attendance at residential schools, including the impacts on subsequent generations.
• Promising healing practices include a wide variety of cultural interventions and activities. Cultural pride and identity are affirmed in collective activities, such as feasts and pow wows and in immersion in traditional arts, languages, music, dancing, storytelling and drumming. These are positive, empowering experiences that provide a secure base from which to launch personal healing. Moreover, cultural interventions form an integral part of the holistic healing process.
• Promising healing practices include a diverse range of traditional therapies, which are often combined with an equally diverse assortment of Western and alternative therapies. Specific therapies and combinations are chosen to support a holistic approach to healing, thereby ensuring that the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs of participants are addressed in the healing process.
• Cultural interventions combined with one or more traditional, Western or alternative therapies were the preferred approach among the promising healing practices projects. This preference was followed by combinations that included elements of all three pillars of healing: Legacy education, cultural interventions and therapeutic healing." Excerpts from the same report as left column.