Providing opportunities for healing

—–Original Message—–
From: Goulais, Bob
Sent: Tuesday, April 17, 2007 7:47 PM
To: ‘menasekwe@yahoo.com’; ‘crystal_seed@hotmail.com’; ‘daanthon@nmu.edu’; ‘marcia.peters@wifn.org’
Cc: ‘Rainey Gaywish’
Subject: Address to the Anishinaabemowin Teg Conference
Boozhoo niindwaymaaginidoog: 

Attached is Grand Council Chief John Beaucage’s address to the Anishinaabemowin Teg Language Conference.  I apologize for the lateness in getting this to you.  We spend quite a bit of time on the road and in our member First Nation communities.

Grand Council Chief John Beaucage acknowledges the note that you passed him following his address at the Language Conference.  Your note reflected the need to address healing in our communities and among our leadership.

Health and Healing is a significant priority for our Nation.  Anishinaabe mno bimaadziwin is a part of Grand Council Chief’s “Political Manifesto” (Article 6) and is one of eight priorities in our overall organizational strategic plan.  
We have our own Anishinabek Health Commission and secretariat to address the administration of health in our 43 member First Nations.  Their vision and mandate is to integrate a holistic health model of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.  

Over the past year, we have also pushed for a healing component from the National Residential School Settlement Agreement.  Much of that will be undertaken through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that will begin its work soon.

However, you are quite right when you bring up the need for true healing among our communities.  There isn’t a full understanding of what healing is, especially what that means from the Anishinaabe perspective.  Many of our community members don’t even recognize they are unhealthy, and don’t understand why we don’t have healthy communities.

Unfortunately, we can’t force people to heal.  All we can do is present people (including our leaders) with opportunities to heal.

That’s why we’ve decided to move forward on our Anishinabek Language Immersion Institute – which may help bring back our understanding of our own perspectives and ways.  That’s also why we’ve re-established our Clan System model for our Leadership Council – which we hope will lead to a re-newed sense of ownership and comfort with our own system of governance.

We’ve decided to re-establish the Three Fires Confederacy – which may help bring our communities an understanding of our traditional protocols, processes and way of governance.  Most importantly, we have asked to host the 2007 Three Fires Midewiwin Summer Ceremonies.  By integrating ceremonies into the Three Fires Confederacy Gathering (August 20-29, 2007 at the Ojibways of Garden River, Ontario Canada), we hope to bring a broader audience to the Midewiwin way of life.  We especially hope our Chiefs, Tribal Chairpersons and the average Anishinaabeg citizen would take back something.  We hope this entire experience will be an opportunity for healing for all who attend.

A’pchi miigwetch for your interest and feedback.

Mi iw,

Bob Goulais
Chief of Staff &
Executive Assistant to the Grand Council Chief
Anishinabek Nation – Union of Ontario Indians
Head Office:  Nipissing First Nation
P.O. Box 711, North Bay, ON  P1B 8J8
Ph. (705) 497-9127   Fx. (705) 497-9135  CELL:  (705) 498-5250
E-mail:  goubob@anishinabek.ca?
Internet:  http://www.anishinabek.ca/

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