Gathering Our Medicine
Healing and strengthening relationships between Indigenous youth and caregivers
Caregivers of Indigenous youth require relational, place and strength-based supports, education and resources that are culturally relevant and take into consideration the impact of colonization and inter-generational trauma. Through Indigenous ways of knowing and being Gathering Our Medicine nurtures care givers intuition (or felt sense of knowing) and confidence to provide for our youths’ often complex, sometimes perplexing relational and developmental needs.
The intention of Gathering Our Medicine is to support caregivers through relationship while encouraging strengthened relationships with youth as an essential aspect of inter-generational healing.
Gathering Our Medicine encourages exploration and honouring of ways of knowing and being (place based rituals and rites of passage) — most natural for the youth’s family and community of origin where possible. This is in contrast to the dominant medical and behavioural models of learning focused on teaching and shaping behaviour, which has proven unsuccessful for Indigenous people who have been impacted by trauma and the irreparable damage caused by a mass attempt at socialization through residential schools.
Our Measure of Success
Relational accountability guides all of Indigenous life including caregiving, teaching, learning, and healing encompassing every aspect of our journey prior to birth into the after-life. In other words, our measure of success as caregivers of Indigenous youth is based on the quality of relationship that develops and whether it provides the context in which our youth grow to their full potential and find their place and purpose as emotionally mature beings.
Adolescence: A Time of Transformation
Adolescence is a time of transformation requiring relational and developmental support.
Our youth need their families and communities to facilitate cultural rites of passage, stories, songs, dances and other culturally appropriate forms of emotional expression to support them during this transition to ensure relationships, resilience and feelings do not get compromised. It is a journey that takes courage on the part of both caregiver and youth.
Gathering Our Medicine invites caregivers of Indigenous youth back from a landscape where “specialists and experts” may have played a central role in their child’s life and aims to empower them through culturally relevant practices, knowledges and emotional supports that put them into the driver’s seat in regards to our youth. The history of colonization, residential school and inter-generational trauma have left a legacy of disrupted relationships and the loss of a life way that sustained Indigenous people since the long ago. Inter-generational healing is an essential part of reconciliation of which families and communities play a central role.
“Indigenous teaching is always associated with organic development. Indigenous teaching is planted like a seed then nurtured and cultivated through the relationship of teacher and student until it bears fruit. The nature and quality of the relationship and perseverance through time determine the outcomes of a teaching process.”
— Gregory Cajete
“Sage, cedar, sweetgrass, tobacco. The sacred medicines. When you start your day with them, along with a prayer of gratitude, your energy becomes joined with the creative energy of the universe – and you may become a creator yourself if you choose and allow. That’s the power of medicine.”