A Few Words
The Wahkotowin Society hosts an annual retreat for a group of Indigenous women who are survivors of cancer and survivors of the Indian residential schools. The retreat is culturally safe for Indigenous women supporting them to heal their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual being; while empowering them to wellness and strengths as leaders when they return to their home communities.
Named the Indigenous women's wellness model, this model developed over the last two decades by the women survivors themselves, utilizes the integrations of Western medicine with traditional cultural healing.
The Voice of Hope retreat provides an opportunity for Indigenous women to learn about the Indigenous women's wellness model in very personal and collective ways. The sharing circle remains the fundamental healing tool utilized at the retreat. The circle allows the women to feel culturally safe so as to share their story with cancer. In tandem with their story of the personal impacts of the Indian Residential School System has had. Furthermore, the complex and ongoing legacy of residential schools is especially borne out in the intergenerational trauma that impacts many generations of women. As culturally safety is an outcome for the women, they are able to break through the bondage of the past by joining a sisterhood who have common experiences and share in a common model of healing so that they may be continually growing as women, as Indigenous, and as Indigenous women survivors.