President & CEO
“Heal the person; heal the family; heal the community; heal the nation.”
– Elder Little Brown Bear, The Aboriginal Healing Program
Over the course of the last few months, I’ve had the honour to spend time with Elder Little Brown Bear, newly appointed to the Order of Ontario. He leads the Aboriginal Healing Program on College and Yonge Street – just one of the programs within our Toronto East Health Network.
The Elder graciously and generously explained some of the ways his teaching and wisdom are impacting many of the community members who come to the program to begin their healing journeys.
That’s how I met Amanda.
She told me that when she got to the program she was broken and lost. Ravaged by the effects of an addiction to substances, she ended up almost losing it all, including her children. But like many people who come to the program, her story is one of hope and redemption.
Through the healing process that provides traditional teachings with the blending of Western information, she reconnected to her culture and Indigenous roots.
She reclaimed her inner spirit. Where she once felt a sense of emptiness; she now feels the fullness of life. Through tears, she walked me through her healing journey and her emotional experience of being reunited with her children.
Of course she didn’t do it alone. She says she was guided by her Creator and the gentle hand of Elder Little Brown Bear. And it’s community leaders like him who are making a difference, healing one person at a time and who embody our vision: Create Health. Build Communities.
To Create Health, Elder Little Brown Bear says we need to start by healing the person; then the family; then the community; and then nation. His philosophy is but a simple one: “People don’t care how much you know, they want to know how much you care.”
As Canadians it’s our duty to understand, support and encourage healing in the traditional way. As the Elder has often stated, “Being Indigenous is a way of life not a life style.” For what we do, we’re helping to close the gap in social, health and economic outcomes that exist between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians.
And so in the spirit of healing and Elder Little Brown Bear, Chi Miigwetch. (Thank you)