Wabanaki Resiliency Lodge: Healing Our People and the Planet

Jun 09, 2023
STS ISSUE15 Wabanaki

Resting on 16 acres of farmland in Wabanaki Territory, N.B., the Native Women’s Association of Canada’s (NWAC) Wabanaki Resiliency Lodge will provide l­and-based, Elder-led traditional healing services and programming. The lodge will offer healing ceremonies, sweat lodge ceremonies, medicinal baths, talking circles, art expressions, as well as Indigenous-led agricultural programming that serves as a global, prototype for how to heal Mother Earth and Indigenous Peoples.

Featuring l­and-based agricultural workshops, medicinal pl­ant teachings, regenerative healing through traditional food methods, and a companion apprenticeship program, the lodge’s agricultural programming is grounded in Traditional Knowledge and led by Indigenous Women, Girls, Two-Spirit, Transgender, and Gender-Diverse+ (WG2STGD+) Peoples.

The Wabanaki Resiliency Lodge’s agricultural initiative focuses on permaculture, food security, preservation of traditional medicines, and Indigenous knowledge transference through community workshops and an apprenticeship program that promotes climate health and food sovereignty for Indigenous WG2STGD+ Peoples.

Modelling best practices for environmental sustainability through teaching, ceremony, and practice, the Wabanaki Resiliency Lodge will operate a 700-square-foot greenhouse, a 3,000-square-foot barn with space for plant drying and traditional food preparation, a seed saving program, beehives, a medicine lodge, and community gathering space.

Apprentices in the agricultural program will become leaders in their communities, contributing to the health of the next seven generations through Traditional Knowledge and stewardship practices.

Guests at the lodge—up to 15 Indigenous Women, Two-Spirit, Transgender, and Gender-Diverse+ Peoples at a time, for healing days for a weekend or up to a month each stay—will be taken on a healing journey grounded in hands-on, land-based, spiritually driven healing through our carefully tailored programming and services. “Our healing is wrapped up with healing of the earth,” says Elder Alma Brooks, who is overseeing the lodge’s programming.

The Wabanaki Resiliency Lodge is a direct response to a ­lack of Elder-led, culturally appropriate healing in Canada for Indigenous WG2STGD+ Peoples who have experienced violence and trauma. Recommendations for creating such a space were brought forward by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) through Article 21, 23, 24, and 29, the World Health Organization, Call to Action #21 by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, and Calls for Justice #2.5, #3.2, #7.1 to #7.7, #18.18, and #18.19 in the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

NWAC leads the way toward reconciliation by creating a space for traditional healing of Indigenous Peoples and the planet. To quote NWAC CEO Lynne Groulx: “It is not just a centre created to heal from trauma, but one that will include prevention through empowering wellness and resiliency.”