© Courtesy of Tsow-Tun Le Lum Society
How can Indigenous Survivors heal from past trauma?
Tsow-Tun Le Lum is a non-profit Helping House that has operated since 1988 and is recognized as a leader in serving Indigenous people in a culturally safe manner. Healing programs incorporate traditional teachings, cultural ceremonies, and Elder teachings, along with therapeutic techniques to address the trauma that underlies alcohol and drug misuse.
Indigenous peoples in Canada have been victimized and traumatized in multiple ways since colonization. The effects of Canada’s Indian Residential Schools are far-reaching and intergenerational. Continued systemic racism has been rampant throughout Canadian history and remains to this day. Indian Day Schools, Indian Hospitals, the foster care system, and the outdated and racist Indian Act are examples of racial discrimination against the original Peoples of this land. These systems have enabled trauma, human rights violations, and social and cultural disruption for generations of Indigenous people, resulting in disproportionately high rates of suicide, overdose, incarceration, missing persons, homelessness, substance misuse, sexual abuse, family violence, and mental health issues within Indigenous populations.
Tsow-Tun Le Lum’s programs and services help people find healing from the traumatic effects of systemic racism and empower Indigenous participants to embrace their culture, find their individual strength, reclaim their physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual balance, and address past trauma in healthy ways. When people feel connected and strengthened, they contribute positively to their families and communities with a renewed outlook and hope for the future.
In addition to the programs offered on-site at the centre, Tsow-Tun Le Lum also has outreach teams consisting of Indigenous Elders and staff skilled in providing cultural support and sharing cultural teachings with people of all ages and professions. In August 2022, Tsow-Tun Le Lum’s Executive Director, Nola Jeffrey, took a team to Alberta for the Papal visit. Jeffrey shared, “We provided emotional and cultural support for hundreds of survivors. Even clergy, security guards, and other mental health workers came to us for support.”
Tsow-Tun Le Lum’s teams regularly travel to assist individuals, families, communities, and organizations who request cultural support for various reasons, including during times of crisis. Examples include supporting Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) events, those displaced by wildfires and floods, and events surrounding the discovery of unmarked graves at previous Residential School sites. They also offer workshops on several topics related to issues Indigenous people face and suggest ways to find healing, understanding, and reconciliation.
Tsow-Tun Le Lum is moving to a new location near Duncan, B.C., and is fundraising for the construction costs of their new Helping House. As a registered charity, all donations to Tsow-Tun Le Lum are eligible for a charitable tax receipt. All donations are greatly appreciated and will help Tsow-Tun Le Lum continue offering much-needed programs and services for Indigenous survivors, their families, and communities.
Visit the website: tsowtunlelum.org to find more information regarding the healing programs and services Tsow-Tun Le Lum provides, along with videos of the new centre being constructed.
Tsow-Tun Le Lum is building a new Helping House and need to raise another $5 million. Your donations will help to ensure continued support services for Indigenous Survivors, families, and communities.