Indigenous wisdom for addiction and opioid recovery is at the heart of the latest wellness series created by Three Corners Health Services Society in Williams Lake.
Titled Remembering Our Wholeness, the aim of the video project is to ensure the society is addressing and supporting communities impacted by addictions and offering traditional approaches, said Lori Sellars, executive director.
“I think of some of the experiences of our people and our nation, our clients and our community members, show they are exposed early in life to some of the effects of residential schools,” Sellars said.
“I’m hoping with the stories that are being shared in the series that we can address some of the stress and the effects that has on mental health and illness.”
Six well-known people are featured in an online forum: they include Theo Fleury, Elaine Alec, Jesse Thistle, Linda Hogan, Roy Henry Vickers and Gregory Cajete.
Fleury, an NHL Stanley Cup champion, Olympic gold medalist and author, defines himself as a victor over trauma and addiction and a facilitator to others trying to find their way.
Alec is the author of Calling My Spirit Back, a political advisor, women’s advocate, spiritual thought leader and teacher and a direct descendant of hereditary chiefs Pelkamulaxw and Soorimpt.
Thistle is a Metis Cree PhD candidate in the history program and assistant professor at York University in Toronto, Ont. and is currently working on theories of the intergenerational and historical trauma of his people.
Hogan is an internationally recognized public reader, speaker and writer of poetry, fiction and essays, a former faculty member at Indian Arts Institute, and is presently a writer in residence for the Chickasaw Nation and professor emerita from the University of Colorado.
Vickers is an accomplished print artist and carver, design advisor of prestigious public spaces, a sought-after keynote speaker, publisher and author of several successful books. He is a recognized First Nations leader and tireless spokesperson for recovery from addictions and abuse.
Cajete is a Tew Indian from Santa Clara Pueblo, New Mexico and an educator dedicated to honouring the foundations of Indigenous knowledge in education.
Ciel Patenaude, an integrative therapist with Three Corners, said the series also includes three families who share stories about losing a loved one to addiction. Additionally, five community members discuss their own healing journeys and the medicine that supports them.
There is a council of grandmothers and a welcome from Chiefs Hank Adam, Willie Sellars and Sheri Sellars whose communities are served by Three Corners, she added.
“I think experience is huge,” Sellars said. ” These people are willing to share their story and feel comfortable and connected to their lived experience. By capturing their stories we hope others can learn from them.”
The series will be launched to view online beginning Wednesday, July 7, up until Friday, Aug. 20, and is available for anyone to watch by registering at www.rememberingourwholeness.com.
“We are hoping anyone who views the series will understand the challenges of our people,” Sellars said, noting some of the speakers discuss an Indigenous approach to healing. “They address the stigma of addiction and we hope to help reduce that stigma.”
Mental health and wellness are a huge priority, which prompted Three Corners to develop its first online series last year.
Sellars is hopeful Remembering Our Wholeness will be just as successful.
Patenaude said booklets about the series are available at Three Corners, 150 First Ave. North and people are encouraged to enter a raffle, with some amazing prizes.