Sharing the Role of Aboriginal Traditional Culture in Healing from Addictions

The information on this website is the outcome of a conversation taking place across Saskatchewan
about the role of Aboriginal culture in healing from addictions.
Hundreds of people have joined in and many want to share their story with you.

You can order the DVD, Journey Magnet & Exercise Suggestions at no cost by either:
1. providing us with your mailing information here,
2. contacting our team at, or
3. calling (306) 966-5912

Knowledge Brokers and Ambassadors shared the DVDs, Journey Magnets, and Exercise Suggestions with communities, organizations and individuals across the province!


The collection of stories on this website is an offering to you. On it you will find videos, songs, poetry, written narratives, drawings and music. It is hoped that the stories will inspire you to join in the provincial discussion. People’s stories are their identity – you will hear about how choosing a healthy sense of self as an Aboriginal person is fundamental to the continued journey of wellbeing.

You will find peoples’ answers to such questions as

  • Why is culture important to healing from addictions?
  • What cultural experiences help people heal from addictions?
  • How do these cultural experiences make a difference for individuals on their healing journeys?
  • Are there any concerns with identifying the benefits of cultural interventions for healing from addictions?


You can both VIEW peoples’ stories (for example, art work) & READ  peoples’ stories (for example, poetry).



There are many possible ways these stories can be used to join in the conversation.  For example, you can share a video at an addictions treatment centre to offer clients hope on their healing journeys, use it as a staff tool in a community program, or use it in policy discussions to help shape addictions treatment and prevention options.  The stories may also inspire you personally to join the conversation!


The aim of the Journey Magnet is to start a conversation to discover what you or someone you know has in common with others for whom Aboriginal culture is an important part of their healing journey.  It looks like this:


An Exercise Sheet with suggestions on how to use the Journey Magnet is also available.













You can also join in the conversation by completing the survey

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world’s leading questionnaire tool.



This community-based project is grounded in a commitment to bring together Indigenous traditional and Western knowledge in a shared space. Elders, researchers, cultural practitioners, students, individuals with lived experience, service providers, decision makers and others have guided the project.

The project draws from a  research proposal developed by the National Native Addictions Partnership Foundation  and the University of Saskatchewan, and is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.  The proposal responds to the renewal framework recommendations for the National Native Alcohol and Drug Abuse Program (NNADAP) and Youth Solvent Addiction program (YSAP), outlined in Hounouring Our Strengths: A Renewed Framework to Address Substance Use Issues Among First Nations People in Canada. The framework is the result of a four-year community-driven review by the National Native Addictions Partnership Foundation (NNAPF), the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and First Nations and Inuit Health Branch (FNIH) of Health Canada. The framework outlines a continuum of care in order to support strengthened community, regional, and national responses to substance use issues.


Financial support has been provided by Health Canada through the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health Drug Treatment Funding Program, the Office of the Research Chair in Substance Abuse at the University of Saskatchewan, and the Saskatchewan Team for Research and Evaluation of Addictions Treatment and Mental Health Services.


Based on all this work, our team developed a day long workshop and held it with the majority of Saskatchewan’s Health Regions in 2013. The workshop, titled ExChanging Conversations: Aboriginal  Culture in the Journey of Healing from Addictions, had three aims:
(1) To explore cultural humility.
(2) To explore the role of Aboriginal culture in wellness from a strengths-based perspective.
(3) To honor the role of cultural identity in healing.

The workshop’s promotional video shares a brief introduction to the day.

At the conclusion of each day a video was made with each participating Service Provider to share, in one word, their understanding of how to engage traditional Aboriginal culture as a support for clients on their journey of healing from addictions.  A compilation of their inspiring words are available HERE in a Clinical Pathways video.


Research Links Culture to Healing. The Star Phoenix, November 7, 2013.

U of S Researchers Partner with Aboriginal Leaders to Explore the Power of Culture to Heal Addictions.  University of Saskatchewan News Release, June 21, 2012.

Two University of Saskatchewan-Based Addictions Projects Address Aboriginal Culture in Healing.   University of Saskatchewan News Release, January 6, 2012.

“Health Canada is proud to be supporting these initiatives through the funding it provides to the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health for the project, Strengthening Substance Abuse Treatment Systems, said the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health.”

Visiting The Athabasca Regional Health AuthorityVisiting the Athabasca Regional Health Authority

The project partners are not responsible for the content of the stories and provide them for the sole purpose of the user to draw upon them as they best see fit.