FASD Central was prompted by the TRC’s Calls to Action #33 & #34 to address and prevent FASD in a culturally appropriate manner, with specific focus in the criminal justice system. It is in this spirit, with the support of our Indigenous partners & Alberta Health, that we joined the active Wellbriety Movement of Central Alberta as project leads for the Create a Healing Forest Treaty 6 & 7.
Non-Native recovery approaches often look at addiction as an individual disease, ignoring the social, political, or economic roots of addiction. The indigenous experience adds a dimension of acknowledging sociopolitical causes without removing an individual’s need to do the hard work it takes to heal. This is new, culturally specific thinking that can also add to the field of mainstream recovery knowledge.
– Don Coyhis (founder) and Richard Simonelli
The Wellbriety Movement is an interconnected web spreading across our Native Nations carrying the message of cultural knowledge about recovery. The Healing Forest model provides a cultural and spiritual approach to community development by offering a collection of interconnected trainings that provide the foundation for individuals, families, and community leaders to begin shaping their community into a Healing Forest. We are honoured to be embraced in the healing forest.
Commencing in 2017, here’s what we accomplished in the first year (of a three-year initiative):
- Six training sessions, 90 participants (total)
- 21 communities connected with Wellbriety Facilitator training to support the healing of trauma and addictions
- Wellbriety Circles at Red Deer Remand, Bowden Institution & EIFW (Edmonton Institute for Women)
- Achieved increased facilitator capacity for Wellbriety circles in Red Deer & O’Chiese First Nation
- New Wellbriety circles started in Rocky Mountain House
One of the cultural cornerstones of the White Bison Wellbriety movement, the Sacred Hoop of 100 Eagle Feathers was brought to Red Deer in September 2017, a gathering which brought together hundreds of attendees who were either already familiar with the movement, or were seeking to learn more. The Sacred Hoop contains the gifts of Hope, Healing, Unity, and Forgiving the Unforgiveable.