At Health Nexus, we’re celebrating our 25th year with several events, including a monthly series of 25 ideas to help service providers in their work.
This month, we recognize National Aboriginal History Month by giving you a list of 25 programs, services, and other resources that you can use to help promote health and well-being with your Aboriginal clients.
Health Nexus recognizes that there are a wide variety of excellent organizations and resources available to support service providers working with expectant parents and young children. This list is intended to provide an overview only; it is not intended to be exhaustive or comprehensive, nor endorsed by Health Nexus.
Aboriginal Children’s Circle of Early Learning is a web-based network and clearinghouse with information on Aboriginal early childhood development, an interactive website, and database. They publish excellent calendars you can use to help plan activities with Aboriginal parents who have small children.
Phone: 1.877.602.4445 (toll free) or 613.237.9462 (Ottawa area)
Have a Ball Together is a campaign to get young children in Ontario more physically active. The campaign includes brochures and posters adapted for Aboriginal people. Order some for your health centre, daycare, school, etc.
National Aboriginal Role Model Program helps us to promote pride in our culture and recognize young people who are doing good things in our communities. Put posters of native people in your office by ordering some of the free ones available through this program, or even try booking one of the role models to come and speak and encourage other young people in your community.
Phone: 613.237.9462, ext 548
Spark Together for Healthy Kids is a program from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario. It’s aiming to raise awareness of obesity issues. The Spark program offers grants of up to $25,000 to communities who want to advocate for healthier children in their community—one example of a health program might be developing a community garden or kitchen for young children. Spark has several community engagement staff who can help you with your grant ideas and application. Grant deadlines are May 1 and November 1 of each year.
Aboriginal Health Access Centres are similar to community health centres and are across the province. They offer culturally appropriate primary care to Aboriginal people. They offer a variety of programs and for many Aboriginal people, they are important because they help us to access teachings from Elders and traditional healers.
Aboriginal Services at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Healthworks to ensure that Aboriginal people in Ontario have access to a range of addiction and mental health services. The Centre has a 21-day residential and outpatient programs for those dealing with addictions and mental health issues. The Centre offers individual counseling, education, research, capacity building, and access to an Elder. It also provides telephone service for consults.
Phone: 416.535.8501, ext. 7651
Email: Dr. Peter Menzies, Clinical Head, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aboriginal Head Start in Urban and Northern Communities is an early intervention program for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis children and their families living in urban centres and large northern communities. It is a pre-school program that prepares young Aboriginal children for school by meeting their spiritual, emotional, intellectual, and physical needs.
Phone: 416.973.0003 (general inquiries)
Aboriginal Head Start On-Reserve is an early intervention program for First Nations children (age 0 to 6) living on reserve, and their families. It prepares children for their school years by meeting their emotional, social, health, nutritional, and psychological needs.
Phone: 613.946.9744 (ask for your regional Head Start representative)
Canada Prenatal Nutrition Program is for pregnant women (and their families) who may be at risk of nutritional problems during their pregnancy and during the first six months after the baby is born. Programs are in and off the reserve. These include community kitchens, community gardens, nutrition classes, food buying clubs, support, education, referral, and counselling to pregnant women at risk.
Phone: 613.952.8377 (for on-reserve programs) or 807.344.9006 (for off-reserve programs)
City of Toronto, Public Health Unit: Aboriginal Peer Nutrition Program
This program provides free nutrition education and support in many languages to ethno-cultural groups. The program has three Aboriginal support sites, providing culturally appropriate nutrition education; community support; consultations on issues such as food security; and referrals for appropriate health services.
Eat Right Ontario is a free service where people can get advice from a registered dietitian. This is a good service for Aboriginal people to use as they provide service in a wide variety of native languages, including Cree and Inuktitut. You can email a dietitian from the website, and service providers can find teaching tools from the dietitians, who have a wide range of resources to share with you.
Phone: 1.877.510.5102 (toll free)
Dilico Anishinabek Family Care provides a range of programs for Anishinabek people. The agency cares for the physical and mental health, and the health of the communities where Anishinabek people live by promoting wellness, preventing illness and trauma, and providing diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation. Dilico’s programs and services are available for Anishinabek residents of any age in Dilico’s jurisdiction, and for children in the care of Dilico and their caregivers.
Dodem Kanosha is a place to learn from and speak with Elders and Traditional Teachers. Elders and Teachers are available throughout the year. During their stay, the Elders and Teachers conduct traditional ceremonies and provide teachings and cultural counselling. The lodge is open Monday through Friday in Toronto. To book an appointment:
Friendship centres usually have excellent programs for all Aboriginal people in the area. You may find these to be the best resource in helping you to connect with Aboriginal resources and Elders in your community.
Web: There is a list of Ontario centres online at www.ofifc.org/ofifchome/page/OfficeList.htm
Phone: 416.956.7575 (Toronto area) or 1.800.772.9291 (toll free)
Healing lodges across Ontario offer traditional healing approaches to address the underlying impacts of abuse. Locations are in or near Heron Bay, Sudbury, Victoria Harbour, London, Kenora, and Parry Sound.
Phone: 416.326.6905 (general info)
Kumik: Council of Elders is a place to speak and listen to Native Elders and hear their teachings in the Ottawa area. Its a place to share and understand cultural differences; and a place to meditate quietly.
Mamisarvik Trauma and Addictions Treatment Program - Pigiarvik Housein Ottawa is a healing centre for Inuit men and women who are 18 and older.
Phone: 613.563.3546, ext 208 for general inquiries
Email: email@example.com. or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Métis Nation of Ontario’s health branches in communities across Ontario offer access to peer counseling. Most also offer telemedicine and a variety of other services. For general information on counseling, call the coordinator for mental health.
Phone: 613.798.1488 (in the Ottawa area) or 1.800.263.4889
Ottawa Inuit Children’s Centre provides cultural, education, and support services in caring, respectful, and collaborative environment that fosters proud Inuit children and families. A great resource for any Inuit families in Ottawa with children from ages 0 to 13. The Centre has a Head Start Program.
Seventh Generation Midwives Toronto is a clinic with some Aboriginal midwives. Healthy pregnant women can give birth at home using one of these midwives. The clinic is in downtown Toronto and gives priority placements to Aboriginal clients.
Tsi Non:we Ionnakeratstha Ona:grahsta, Six Nations Maternal and Child Centre provides preconception services, pre- and postnatal care, and birthing services to women with low-risk pregnancies in the southwest Ontario area. Traditional Aboriginal midwives provide services that incorporate traditional midwifery practices. As required, referrals are made to and medical back up is available from local obstetricians and hospitals.
Aboriginal Healing Foundation publishes many free books that help everyone to learn more about how the residential schools impact our health. Check out From Truth to Reconciliation: Transforming the Legacy of Residential Schools, published in 2008. Survivors and inter-generational survivors helped to write this book. It’s an intense but wonderful read. You can also find a wide range of other free (and interesting) publications on the foundation’s website.
Web: www.ahf.ca: click on “Publications,” and then on “Research series.”
Anishnawbe Health Toronto has a set of excellent and free cultural brochures you can download on topics such as moon time, traditional healing, the four sacred medicines, etc. If you’re in the Toronto area, this health centre can also provide your client with access to a wide range of excellent Elders and medicine people.
Come Meet the Challenge! Physical Activities and Nutrition Initiatives in Aboriginal Communities: Resource Guide
This is an excellent resource by the National Indian and Inuit Community Health Representatives Organization. It was published in 2006, is over 100 pages, and is filled with good information from Aboriginal people about starting healthy programs in Aboriginal communities across Canada. This guide is comprehensive.
Phone: 450.632.0892, ext. 24
Métis Cookbook, Second Edition (2008) was published by the National Aboriginal Health Organization. It provides nutritional information and recipes by Métis people. One of the most famous Métis authors is named Maria Campbell, and she wants young families to use this cookbook to re-create old traditions of sharing good food, stories, and laughter. She says that having traditions creates strong families and a strong people.
Phone: 613.237.9462 (Ottawa area) or 1.877.602.4445 (toll free)
By Melanie Ferris, Aboriginal Health Promotion Consultant