COMPENDIUM OF PROMISING PRACTICES TO REDUCE VIOLENCE AND INCREASE SAFETY OF ABORIGINAL WOMEN IN CANADA – COMPENDIUM ANNEX: DETAILED PRACTICE DESCRIPTIONS
Residential Schools Healing
- Program name:
Native Counselling Services of Alberta
- Target Group:
- Contact Name:
Beginning in 1995 at the Stan Daniels Healing Centre, the program expanded in 1999 to include services for men in federal correctional institutions. In 2002 the program expanded yet again to include women in federal correctional institutions. In 2009 a young offenders program was initiated.
- Goals & Objectives:
To assist Aboriginal people who struggle with violent behaviour to understand the cycle of violence, and how historic trauma, personal trauma, childhood experiences and grief and loss have affected their behaviour.
- Traditional/Indigenous ways:
The process is founded upon ceremony and teachings provided by traditional Elders. This set of programs could not exist without ceremony, Elders' guidance, and the teaching of natural law.
- Components of program:
The program seeks to help participants connect to their own healing journey; to help the process of decolonization, and provide an opportunity to learn the teachings of natural law. The program enables participants to understand where their violence comes from, their role as victim and perpetrator, and how to take responsibility for their behaviour. It involves 75 sessions and takes 6 – 10 weeks to complete. Western therapy is included when appropriate to the client's needs.
- Services/How they work:
Services are provided on site at the facility and off site at other facilities as needed (i.e. correctional institutions).
The Department of Public Safety Canada; Correctional Services of Canada.
Relationships and Stakeholders
- Involvement of Target Groups:
The program was developed by NCSA staff, in consultation with residents at the Stan Daniels Center. The development was guided by the elders at NCSA.
Correctional Services of Canada; Alberta Solicitor General; Métis Child, Youth and Family services.
- Other relationships:
Communities across Manitoba and Ontario.
Details of Program Evaluation
An evaluation has been completed.
- Highlights of Evaluation Findings:
The In Search of Your Warrior program is a very effective violence prevention program; with lower recidivism rates for Aboriginal offenders than mainstream programs.
- Measures of Success:
Recidivism (whether graduates of the program commit a further violent offence). Staff examine the nature/quality of the relationships participants have post-program. There are pre/post-tests that look at 23 indicators of healing/non-violent behaviour.
Hundreds of men, women and youth have been helped in finding their own healing journey. Dozens of Aboriginal facilities across the country have been counselled in how to facilitate healing processes for their clients.
Helping mainstream society understand the importance of having Aboriginal people help Aboriginal people using Aboriginal values and processes.
Things to Know to Replicate
- Replication Advice:
Organizations considering initiating this type of program need to intimately understand the process of healing and recovery. Elders who know the ceremonies, values and teachings need to be involved in the program to ensure success.
Appropriate staffing (culturally and spiritually in tune with the program); Adequate funding would be necessary to ensure program can offer enough services to be of value.
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