News Release –Manitoba Government Invests $500,000 to Support Indigenous Residential School Healing Centres, Expand Awareness

Press Release

April 4, 2022

Funding Improves Mental Health and Trauma Supports For Survivors and Families: Guillemard, Lagimodiere

The Manitoba government is investing $500,000 in funding for 10 Indigenous residential school healing centres across the province to support and promote healing, advance reconciliation and build healthier futures for Manitobans, Mental Health and Community Wellness Minister Sarah Guillemard and Indigenous Reconciliation and Northern Relations Minister Alan Lagimodiere announced today.

“Manitoba is acknowledging past harms and responding to intergenerational traumas and needs of residential school survivors for support,” said Guillemard. “We will partner closely with these Indigenous-led organizations to help bring about healing through traditional Indigenous ceremonies, safe mental health approaches and holistic community-based care.”

This contribution builds on a $200,000 investment made by the province last September to support programming and awareness for the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The new funding for the Indigenous residential school healing centres aligns with the Department of Indigenous Reconciliation and Northern Relations’ mandate to engage with Indigenous communities and organizations and with all Manitobans on a path toward reconciliation, Lagimodiere noted.

The $500,000 investment also supplements federal funding under the Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program that provides emotional, cultural, spiritual and mental health support services to eligible former residential school students and their families.

“This investment strengthens Manitoba’s role in advancing reconciliation,” said Lagimodiere. “It expands culturally holistic healing and trauma support services while strengthening family connections around the shared experiences of Manitobans who attended Indigenous residential schools.”

In the recent development of the Department of Mental Health and Community Wellness’ five-year strategy, A Pathway to Mental Health and Community Wellness: A Roadmap for Manitoba, thousands of Manitobans were heard from about the need for improvements to supports for those living with mental illness and trauma. The report further highlights the need for more culturally sensitive, accessible and integrated Indigenous-led supports for survivors of the residential school era and the generations that followed it.

In addition to an event dedicated to supporting residential school survivors, culturally appropriate healing services will be offered by a cultural support worker or a residential school health support worker through 10 urban and rural organizations:

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

“This one-time funding acknowledges the importance of supporting our survivors, their families and communities throughout the difficult process of locating unmarked graves at former Indian residential school sites in Manitoba,” said Eva Wilson Fontaine, Anish Corporation. “It also ensures that survivors won’t have to walk this journey alone.”

Visitors to the Aboriginal Health and Wellness Centre are already experiencing positive effects of the investment.

“With this funding, our survivors, their families and communities are feeling supported through their healing journey, especially during these difficult times,” said Noella Gentes, director of programs, Aboriginal Health and Wellness Centre of Winnipeg, Inc. “We were able to hold a huge three-day event that hosted an average of 600 survivors and their families per day. I can’t say enough about the support provided and connections made during this event.”

The support for the healing centres and their programs addresses disparities in health outcomes and aligns with Calls to Action No. 18 to 24 from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, Lagimodiere noted.

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For more information:

  • Public information, contact Manitoba Government Inquiry: 1-866-626-4862 or 204-945-3744.
  • Media requests for general information, contact Communications and Engagement: newsroom@gov.mb.ca.
  • Media requests for ministerial comment, contact Communications and Stakeholder Relations: 204-451-7109.

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