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Manitoba investing in 10 Indigenous residential school healing centres


The Manitoba government is investing $500,000 in 10 Indigenous residential school healing centres.

Mental Health and Community Wellness Minister Sarah Guillemard and Indigenous Reconciliation and Northern Relations Minister Alan Lagimodiere announced the funding on Monday, saying the investment will support and promote healing, advance reconciliation and build healthier futures for Manitobans.

“We know that colonialism, racism and intergenerational trauma resulting from residential schools have impacted the mental health outcomes for Indigenous people in Manitoba,” Guillemard said at a news conference.

“The location and discovery of more than 6,000 unmarked graves of children and youth who attended Indian residential schools across Canada has once again brought to light the significant pain and suffering endured by more than 150,000 First Nations, Metis and Inuit children and youth.”

Jennifer Wood, a residential school survivor who spent much of her career helping other survivors, said the province's move showed her that reconciliation is in the works.

“Our people need assistance," Wood said in an interview with CTV News. "We need therapists. We need support. We need to look at land-based education. We need to look at our own culture and identity. That’s what we need to heal.”

Working as a Commemoration and Community Engagement officer with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, Wood sees the need for more support.

She said the pope's apology, the uncovering of unmarked graves at residential schools, and the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls inquiry is bringing up a lot of trauma.

"Survivors are still in a lot of pain. We are just starting at the tip of the iceberg."

The province noted that a cultural support worker or a residential school health support worker will provide culturally appropriate healing services through 10 organizations:

  • Aboriginal Health and Wellness Centre of Winnipeg;
  • Anish Corporation in Swan Lake;
  • Cree Nation Tribal Health in The Pas;
  • Cross Lake Band – Indian Residential School Healing Program;
  • Keewatin Tribal Council in Thompson;
  • Sagkeeng Indian Residential School Wellness Centre in Pine Falls;
  • St. Theresa Point First Nation Healing Centre;
  • Southeast Resource Development Council in Winnipeg;
  • Wa-Say Healing Centre in Winnipeg; and
  • West Region Treaty 2 and 4 Health Services in Dauphin.

“Providing funding to each of the regional healing centres will allow them to increase their capacity to provide survivors, family members and communities with mental health and trauma supports during their time of need,” Guillemard said.

“Specifically, the funding to the healing centres will allow for an increase in counselling and cultural supports and offer residential school survivors the chance to attend healing events, gatherings and other educational events or conferences.”

The province added that visitors to the Aboriginal Health and Wellness Centre are already feeling the effects of its investments.

It noted the funding for the healing centres addresses disparities in health outcomes and aligns with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action.

This funding builds on the province’s $200,000 investment announced last September to support programming and awareness for the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. It also supplements federal funding under the Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program. Top Stories

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