Gathering Our Medicine: A Hopeful New Paradigm

In this session, Denise, Marla, and Bill explore the specific ways in which the Gathering Our Medicine program offers a hopeful new paradigm that is a respectful integration of indigenous ancient-wisdom and modern scientific knowledge.

The program clearly re-orients helping professionals from the expert role to that of facilitator of a restoration of both care and dignity to the kinship circle. Guided by the wisdom of our ancestors in the ways of relationality the ruptures we have experienced inter-generationally can be repaired naturally, spontaneously and in the context of the safety of our kinship circle. By looking first and foremost to the kinship circle and our diversity of place based epistemological knowledges we instinctively and intuitively co- create a powerful intersubjective field in which repair, healing, growth and fulfillment can occur.

Objectives: Gathering Our Medicine has been envisioned as a potent, new-old praxis for a long overdue transformation of services to support indigenous children, youth, families, and communities. The program is led by ancient wisdom and informed by the latest in relationship, resilience and emotion sciences. The implications for practice resulting from this program and approach are profound for both communities and those in helping roles longing to do better and searching for a way.


Speakers: Denise Findlay, M.Ed., CPCC, ACC, PhD. Student, Neufeld Institute Faculty Intern Marla Kolomaya, Certified counselor, parent consultant, Neufeld Institute Faculty William “Bill” Mansell, Knowledge Keeper, cultural wellness provider, and addictions coach.


The Community-Based Mental Health Interventions: Critical Perspectives and Innovative Approaches (CBMH) course took place between April 6-9, 2021 and was hosted by McGill University, with financial support by RRSPQ. In this course, participants learned to identify and assess collaborative and decolonizing approaches to community-based mental health and psychosocial interventions. Topics covered included: engaging community stakeholders in program implementation; co-designing interventions with community partners; untangling issues of power, position and ethics; culturally adapting program material for community fit; utilizing training models in program delivery and scale-up; and building communities of practice, and program sustainability. The seminars in this course were led and taught by community experts, using case examples from mental health preventative and intervention programs delivered globally.

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