Southern Chiefs’ Organization launches Traditional Healers Program

The Southern Chiefs’ Organization has launched a new program called the Traditional Healers Program. It’s aim is to use traditional and culture based healing to aid members of the SCO. Mike Albanese has more.

By Mike Albanese

The Southern Chiefs Organization has officially launched their Traditional Healers Program, it’s designed to bring ceremony back into the lives of Indigenous peoples, and begin a healing journey.

“Those systems have been taken away from us. Residential schools, day schools, missionaries coming into our communities and telling us our ways are wrong. This is a big step back into reconciliation,” said Louis Young, knowledge keeper.

The program was announced at a pipe ceremony Monday. Young will be a traditional healer. He says growing up, he lost who he was through constant verbal harassment.

Southern Chiefs’ Organization launches Traditional Healers Program. (Photo Credit: Mike Albanese, CityNews)

“The tone of voice delivered to us, the punishment we got. I think many of us developed this feeling that there was something wrong with us,” explained Young.

He’s excited to bring tradition back to those who are lost. Young says his brother has been bringing healing ceremonies to youth in Bloodvein First Nation and it’s having an immediate impact.

“The parents are beginning to notice their youth are behaving so much better, they’re staying out of trouble and doing so much better. Now the parents are going to find out what their kids are learning.”

Southern Chiefs’ Organization launches Traditional Healers Program. (Photo Credit: Mike Albanese, CityNews)

The Traditional Healers Program includes ceremonies, medicines, land-based teachings, culture camps, and traditional activities to reclaim health through culture and language.

“It’s proven to reduce rates of substance abuse, recidivism, violent behaviors, child apprehension, suicide, they’re all proven to be lowered when people get access to their heritage and ceremony,” said Justin Courchene, traditional healers and program lead.

The program is available to any member of the 34 Anishinaabe and Dakota Nations that make up the SCO.

Courchene says anyone looking to access the services can contact the SCO Office.

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