Ontario press release
July 27, 2009
First Nation, Métis and Inuit victims of crime in northeast Ontario will have access to new services and a new traditional healing space funded through the Aboriginal Victims Support Grant Program.
The Ojibway and Cree Cultural Centre will receive $203,000 to create culturally-specific programs and workshops to meet the needs of Aboriginal victims. For example, in Timmins a traditional healing space will be constructed to provide year-round traditional teachings, healing circles and counselling.
The programs and workshops will be available to victims living in:
Mocreebec Council of the Cree Nation
"We recognize the importance of programs and services designed, developed and delivered by Aboriginal people, for Aboriginal people. This new traditional space will give Aboriginal victims in Northeast Ontario access to the support they need to work through the healing process."
- Chris Bentley, Attorney General
"The healing circles, traditional teachings and counselling programs that will be available year-round will help victims heal with the support of the community. This new space will serve as a gathering place for so many who need help and somewhere to find peace. For that we are thankful."
- Diane Riopel, Executive Director, Ojibway and Cree Cultural Centre
Learn about Ontario's approach to Aboriginal affairs.
Find out more about the Aboriginal Victims Support Grant Program. (Information available in English, French, Cree, Ojibway and Oji-Cree)
Minister's Office, 416-326-1785
Communications Branch, 416-326-2210
July 28, 2009
Aboriginal leaders in Timmins are hoping the creation of a new “healing place” in the city will help solve problems related to crime and violence for native men and women.
Ontario Attorney General Chris Bentley announced more than $200,000 in funding to allow the Ojibway and Cree Cultural Centre create cultural-specific programs and places to promote healing and understanding.
Bentley says he hopes the funding will help Aboriginals in Timmins, and across Ontario, cope with the problem of a disproportionate number of Aboriginals in the justice system.
“We've all identified that Aboriginal peoples are over-represented in our justice system and for that reason we've been working very, very hard with Aboriginal peoples throughout the province to develop a better strategy, a better approach,” said Bentley.
He says one of the ways of doing that is ensuring those who are victims of violence in Aboriginal communities get the help and support they need.
Bentley says the funding for the program in Timmins and across Ontario is being well received.
Gary Martin, the president of the Timmins Native Friendship Centre board of directors said he was pleased with the funding since it would enable the building of a new healing centre in the city.
Martin recalled that historically First Nations had their own governments, their own system of justice and traditional ways of dealing with conflict.
“This is just going back and practicing those original teachings we all had,” he told reporters.
Martin says the plan is to have a traditional healing area located in a forest setting south of Timmins. He says it will be located on more than 60 acres of land near Langmuir Road. He said the focal point would be a specially built teepee more than 30 feet high and 30 feet across.
“It's a very calming environment. It's not a square box or a square room,” said Martin.“This will be a model for the rest of Ontario to follow,” said Martin.
Martin said the justice system doesn't work well for Aboriginal people because the conventional judicial system does not understand native healing methods.
Martin told a gathering at the Friendship Centre Monday how the idea of the healing place came to him in a dream, where an old woman was walking with a child.
Martin said the girl would ask the woman about medicines and healing. He said when he spoke to elders about the meaning of the dream; they asked what he saw in the background.
Martin said he saw the teepee in the forest and that to him indicated a place of healing.
He added the actual teepee structure would likely be made of steel because the structure needs to be built to last. Martin says the groundwork should begin in the fall and he is hoping the structure will be completed by June of 2010.