Gathering Our Medicine


The Gathering Our Medicine Program for caregivers of Indigenous youth has been developed in response to the unique and often complex needs of our young people who have been impacted by colonization and intergenerational trauma. This program is intended to lead the way as a model of truly Indigenous caregiver education that is a balanced integration of Indigenous and Western ways of knowing and being. As we practice walking in two worlds, we weave together a better future for Indigenous youth

Gathering Our Medicine has been developed with Maples Adolescent Treatment Center, Gathering Our Medicine Working Group and Advisory Group, and in collaboration with families and communities of Indigenous youth.

The Vision of Gathering Our Medicine validates the essential need for programs and services for Indigenous people be created and grounded with involvement from Indigenous people, Indigenous perspectives, and Indigenous world views that support and enhance the well-being of Indigenous children, youth, families, and communities.

Gathering Our Medicine provides opportunities for families, to understand the impacts of colonial history on parenting, while focusing on the resilience and healing that is embedded within Indigenous ways of being. Through community collaboration, this program will continue to evolve and provide an essential service for Indigenous peoples throughout British Columbia. It is a courageous and humbling journey for all who are involved.


Through Indigenous ways of knowing and being, Gathering Our Medicine supports the journey of healing and strengthening relationship between Indigenous children, families and communities.


Gathering Our Medicine™ was founded by Denise Findlay with funding support by the BC Ministry of Children and Family Development in January 2020. This program is on-going, with collaboration between Indigenous communities and the Gathering Our Medicine™ Working and Advisory Groups. Program development has been done mindfully and with reference to:
  • Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action
  • The Aboriginal Policy and Practice Framework in British Columbia
  • United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People
  • The Ministry of Child and Family Development’s Core Policy on Working With Indigenous Children, Youth, Families and Communities
  • Maples Adolescent Treatment Centre’s Operational & Strategic Directional Plan 2017-2020

The program is informed and guided by fresh understandings from developmental science, affective neuroscience, attachment theory, play theory, resilience and empathy research and by Indigenous scholars in the fields of Indigenous education, anthropology and psychology.

Founded by Denise Findlay


We would like to sincerely acknowledge the Gathering our Medicine Working and Advisory groups along with, Aaron Nelson- Moody, Dr. Deborah MacNamara, and the Elders and families for their contributions to this program.

We want to pay a special thanks to Dr. Gordon Neufeld for his guidance and development of Gathering Our Medicine. The Developmental Relational approach as articulated by Dr. Neufeld lies at the root of Indigenous ways of knowing and being and have broadly informed and shaped this program.

Authored by Denise Findlay (January 2020)

The history of colonization has affected so much of Indigenous people’s lives that today we must look beyond the modernity of reserve life or the technology of the times, to ask what of our Indigenous selves and civilization remains and how is it represented and understood by the people themselves.”

— Marie Battiste

“Indigenous practices such as creative dreaming, art, ritual, and ceremony help the student externalize inner thoughts and qualities for examination. Such practices help students to establish a connection with their real selves and learn how to bring their inner resources to bear in their lives.”

— Gregory Cajete