Help us finish 'Healing the Nation' Documentary

’Healing the Nation’ is a documentary following the healing journey of community members (clients) from the Toronto-based Aboriginal Healing Program which has been designed and led by Elder Little Brown Bear (Ernest W. Matton, Athehsa Niohkwá:rita:a) for First Nation, Métis and Inuit persons. The Elder believes that being Aboriginal is a way of life, not a lifestyle. The strong cultural foundation of this program provides a stable, safe and confidential environment for which community members can explore current and past unresolved issues that need to be addressed to help them on their trauma, mental health and addictions healing journey.

This documentary captures the Elder’s teachings and his vision for the program, while highlighting the issues surrounding unresolved trauma, the intergenerational impacts resulting from residential schools, and existing gaps within Canada’s health and social service systems.


About The Aboriginal Healing Program

The program is a highly structured Accredited Leading Practice Aboriginal Program which provides a continuous intake process and does not believe in wait lists or time limits for those that are either considering or are ready to begin their healing journeys. The Aboriginal Healing Program raises awareness through individual/couple/family healing (counselling), group sessions, sharing/healing/talking circles, Traditional ceremonies, cultural activities through the blending of Aboriginal Teachings with Western information; providing options through a mutually agreed upon plan of care for those who want to create a lasting change through individual and spiritual growth. This method helps to develop and create realistic goal setting to provide balance and harmony with the medicine wheel, and to walk with the Seven Grandfather Teachings. In most cases, community members had not previously been offered nor received any relevant, culturally appropriate healing (treatment) options, therefore the program encourages more favorable alternative approaches to those struggling with mental health and addiction issues, rather than perpetuating incarceration or further incarceration.

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A message from the Director - Jack Major

Three years ago, my mom was released from a short jail sentence and found herself continually struggling with trauma, mental health and addiction issues from the past. She had been referred to a program, The Aboriginal Healing Program, by the staff of a downtown Toronto halfway house she was living in. The program had allowed her to start her healing journey the day after she called and offered her a safe space where she could share her thoughts and feelings without judgment. A few weeks later she asked me to join her during a family session of the program; this is where I met Elder Little Brown Bear.

That evening the community (program) members welcomed me into a traditional healing circle, where we each took turns sharing a personal story of our own while holding the Eagle Feather in our left hand. I felt comfortable enough to share details about my life that I would have never been able to do elsewhere, and a lot of that comfort had to do with the positive energy in the circle. Those who were going through hardships or losses were lifted with words of support and encouragement. That comfort and support from this community during our first encounter, helped me to understand why I’d seen so many positive changes in my mom within her few first weeks of attending the program. Through Elder Little Brown Bear’s guidance and with the help of the program members, my mom had found herself a community to help her along her healing journey, which continues to this day. For the first time in many years, and after many unsuccessful rehabilitation attempts, I felt that my mom was finally getting the healing she needed all along; barrier-free and holistic.

I want to thank my brothers and sisters from the program who have raised their voices to be heard within this important story. It is our collective goal to bring this film to the forefront, educating not only current health care professionals, but the next generations coming, and the general public, so that they can better help others heal from trauma, mental health and addiction issues.

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We need your help!

We began filming Healing the Nation in spring of this year in collaboration with Elder Little Brown Bear from The Aboriginal Healing Program and Sarah Downey, CEO of Michael Garron Hospital Toronto East Health Network. Over the course of six months, we interviewed community members, healthcare professionals, social service workers including leadership from the hospital.

Additionally, footage was captured of the Sacred Room at the program, the Healing Room of the paediatrics palliative care unit, as well as the construction and the opening ceremony of the Bear’s Den Traditional Medicine Sweat Lodge locate on the property of Michael Garron Hospital.

To date, this documentary has been self-funded as a passion project and labor of love, in order to make sure that the program’s important milestones were captured and archived. Our team is now ready to begin editing the final documentary and is seeking your help to support us in sharing these stories! Your donation will help us to cover the costs of hiring the professionals we need for:

↳Documentary Editing
↳Final Color Correction
↳Sound Design
↳Music Score
↳Film Festival Submissions, Marketing & Public Relations

Once completed, the documentary will be submitted to film festivals where it will be screened nationally and internationally; and all those who participated in the documentary and those who donated will be invited to its’ screening in Toronto (date and location to come). The purpose of ‘Healing The Nation’ is two-fold 1) to share Aboriginal traditions and healing practices, and 2) to prompt health and public health system transformation in Canada and allow for more timely, holistic and culturally appropriate or safe approaches to trauma, mental health and addiction services.

Funds collected beyond the amount needed to complete the film will be used to purchase a Tee Pee for storytelling during the year by the Elder and the community members of The Aboriginal Healing Program 

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About Production Team - Mission & Theory Co.

Mission & Theory Co. is a creative agency built by artists and researchers, united by the philosophy that the stories we share today encourage the action of tomorrow.

Instagram | Facebook | Twitter @missiontheoryco 

Website www.missionandtheory.com

Donations

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  • Robyn Haughton 
    • $500 
    • 4 mos
  • Ash Major 
    • $75 
    • 8 mos
  • Ryan Coker 
    • $10 
    • 8 mos
  • Neil Drimer 
    • $25 
    • 9 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $10 
    • 10 mos
See all

Organizer

Jack Major 
Organizer
Toronto, ON
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