Gathering Our Medicine

PROGRAM BACKGROUND

The Gathering Our Medicine Program has been developed in response to the unique and often complex needs of our young people (Canada, 2012) (Darcy, 2020) (Development, 2020) (Framework, 2019) (Battiste, 2013) who have been impacted by colonization and intergenerational trauma. It is intended to offer a powerful praxis for transformation of mental health services for Indigenous families and communities. It is through the integration of Indigenous Wisdom and scientific knowledge that we can practice walking in two-worlds weaving together a better future for Indigenous Youth.

Collaborations

Gathering Our Medicine is an ongoing collaborative effort that includes engagement with 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.

OUR VISION 

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

A Journey Rooted in Ancient Wisdom

We cannot help but reflect on the inner conflict we as Indigenous people feel as we walk this journey in the face of academia, science, and so called western scientific evidence-based practices that often eclipse Indigenous knowledges. (Wilson J. a.-M., 2019) Our ways of knowing and being are based on the land, lived experience, a felt sense of knowing, and an understanding that we are connected to everything. What we do to the web, we do to ourselves (Cajete, 1994). Therefore, we go forward led by our hearts striving to live our Indigenous values of respect, reciprocity, relationship, integrity and kindness (Wilson J. a.-M., 2019). 

The journey in many ways is far more important than the destination. The way in which we carry ourselves, the intentions we set and the quality of our interactions with each other is our measure of success. This is an ongoing work in progress that is intended to grow and evolve over time as we walk this journey learning together. For those who need convincing, we respectfully ask for you to become allies to us as we forge a new path rooted in ancient wisdom and as we find our way forward Gathering Our Medicine.

A Vision Grounded in Indigenous Perspectives & Worldviews

Gathering Our Medicine has been made possible with the vision and support of Maples Adolescent Treatment Center, GOM Working Group, GOM Advisory Group, and in collaboration with families and communities of Indigenous youth. 

The Gathering Our Medicine (GOM) Vision 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. 

The GOM program 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 knowing and being. 

Through community collaboration, the GOM 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.

Contributors

Gathering Our Medicine™ was founded by Denise Findlay with funding support by the The Maples Adolescent Treatment Centre (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.

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.

Acknowledgements

We would like to sincerely acknowledge the Gathering our Medicine Working and Advisory groups, along with the Elders, Knowledge Keepers and the families for their contributions to this program.

We want to pay a special thanks to Dr. Gordon Neufeld for his guidance in the development of Gathering Our Medicine. 

Artwork created by Coast Salish Artist, Aaron Nelson Moody (Tawx’sin Yexwulla).

Founder & Author

Gathering Our Medicine founder and author, Denise Findlay (December 2019).