HEALING AND RECONCILIATION FOR COMMUNITIES AND FAMILIES

Women of the Dawn Ministry’s Healing Hearts Conference

For years, the Women of the Dawn Ministry has been a pillar of support for Residential School Survivors, recognizing the profound lack of counseling and healing for many Survivors and their children.

The legacy of abuse, from the loss of traditions and culture to physical and emotional mistreatment, continues to linger through generations. 

To help address the intergenerational trauma and facilitate healing, the Women of the Dawn Ministry hosted the Healing Hearts Conference, a 3-day workshop for Elders, Survivors, and intergenerational survivors, in Regina, Saskatchewan, allowing attendees to learn together through traditional healing methods.

The conference was supported by funding from the Indigenous Reconciliation Fund (IRF), which covered costs from venue rental to conference materials and honorariums for Elders and Indigenous performers.  

Traditional healing circles took place throughout the conference, and Indigenous mental health therapists provided support to participants. Elders and Elder helpers guided the process, fostering an environment of reconciliation.

From an Elder and Residential School Survivor:

“This is a good thing for our people, it brings me back to the old days when we were children with my dad and how he taught all us boys how to sing our traditional songs and dance together to bring us together as a community.  … Our grandchildren, sons and daughters have to be taught how we lived and how we survived and how we fought to keep our traditions so they can find pride and want to carry on our traditional ways to their families.”

Women of the Dawn Ministry has been in existence since December of 1993 and is a grassroots, non-profit organization headquartered in Regina, Saskatchewan. Women of the Dawn Ministry was established by a group of First Nations Women who saw a need to work with other urban Indigenous women in the mutual pursuit of self-reliance and social and economic self-sufficiency. Women of the Dawn Ministry works with the 74 First Nation Bands in Saskatchewan who have them in many fundraising efforts to keep the doors open for 30 years.

Archdiocese of Regina