The Aboriginal Healing Foundation was thus established in 1998, originally with an eleven-year mandate scheduled to expire on March 31, 2009. This time frame reflected the original establishment of the foundation as part of a governmental policy of restitution for past abuse and its intergenerational effects: it was supposed that the conditions and the psychological welfare of the affected portion of the population could be substantially ameliorated within that specific time frame, but also reflected a sense that the original population for whom the funds represented a form of reparation were already dying. Unfortunately, problems like alcoholism tend to linger on well beyond the initial policies of abuse and neglect -- for this was official government policy, for which the Aboriginal community would receive official federal redress -- and it is for this reason we turn to the Smithers Foundation: the original charter for the Aboriginal Healing Foundation expected that we would cease operations entirely by this point. Instead, the vital and urgent need for our continued presence in Canada's native communities has caused us to seek outside support from charitable organizations who can recognize us for an established presence within a vulnerable group, and one which is administered and operated by members of the same group, thus insuring a clear investment in the communities and populations to which we minister.
From the standpoint of the Smithers Foundation, I would like to stress that -- in trying to define the uniqueness of what we do at the Aboriginal Healing Foundation, with the inclusion of culturally relevant and specific native practices as part of our "best practices" approach to strategies and treatments, I may inadvertently have failed to stress the fact that we also offer customary strategies and treatments equivalent to those on offer in large secular urban communities elsewhere. We offer cognitive-behavioural and rational-emotive therapies, courses in parenting and life-skills, psychotherapeutic approaches to dealing with depression, anger, shame or guilt, abandonment and the like, individual and group counseling, peer counseling and online counseling for youth, and Inner Child therapy, in addition to psychodrama, genograms, Gestalt therapy and psychoeducation.
Individual counseling is used in 34% of our projects, and family counseling is used in 20.4%. Our participants rated the quality and usefulness of the one-on-one counseling services offered very highly, and in many cases, different Aboriginal populations may adapt methods to best suit their own community needs: a project from the Metis people noted that the traditional "medicine wheel" of the First Nations tribe worked extremely well in conjunction with cognitive-behavioral therapy. In the treatment of alcohol abuse, though, the inclusion of traditional culture aspects is very effective with Aboriginal populations, in part because alcohol is not a part of that traditional culture!
The Aboriginal Healing Foundation aims to achieve the following outcomes:
• Facilitate the establishment of twelve permanent alcohol-related treatment and healing facilities in at-risk areas
• Train counselors and educators with a firm commitment to dedicate half of the workshops specifically to preventive efforts ?
• Educators to produce content lessons for use outside the facilities on educational and outreach programs
• Build a thriving and sustainable network of alcohol-related and culturally appropriate counseling and education with specific reference to the Aboriginal population.
SECTION 2: Proposal Narrative?
I do not know if the Smithers Foundation has ever backed work among the U.S.A.'s own Native American population, but I trust that a familiarity with the overall demographic issues related to the disease of alcoholism has at least raised the issue: a 1988 study conducted out of the California State University at Chico Department of Community Health stated bluntly that the disease among America's own native population had reached "epidemic" levels. In any situation where we are dealing with an alcoholism epidemic among a vulnerable minority population, there are so many factors which must be taken into account of any analysis of conditions. Not only are we required to look with sensitivity upon cultural and social factors -- which to a certain degree represent the historically recent introduction of alcohol at all, and especially of distilled spirits, into cultures that did not materially produce alcohol and therefore have no cultural context whereby to understand it -- but there is also the overall question (to a certain degree beyond our purview but by no means beyond our notice) of poverty and socioeconomic disenfranchisement within these vulnerable population groups, and also their emotional condition, the existing state of overall health and wellness within a community that is marginalized and overwhelmingly "at risk." But our goals include the following:
*Rebuild community-based structures of support and learning, so that the internal strengths of the social organization can be relied upon (and can rebuilt as part of a community-wide effort) in future.
*Sponsor population-specific projects such as one previously administered by the Aboriginal Healing Foundation, which was performed by the Six Nations Tribe of Ontario. In the local tribal language, the program was termed I da wa da di, which translates as "We Should All Speak." This represented a rather traditional therapy group, but it was structured in such a way that traditional native healing principles could be introduced as part of the procedure, in a way that was specifically geared to address the needs of Aboriginal abuse survivors and to treat women particularly.
*Additional community practices such as fasting retreats, circles, traditional herbal medicines, songs, drumming, and Aboriginal education methods.
Our definition overall of best practice in healing is thus flexible enough to include the various things which, communally decided, seem like the most important factors in repairing the overall social damage that is caused by these epidemics affecting vulnerable communities. To some extent, the rebuilding of community traditions and practices in the wake of the devastation wrought is an important part of rebuilding an environment in which recovery and healing can actually take place.
Canada's own Aboriginal population is no less vulnerable than America's, however the Aboriginal Healing Foundation was established originally as part of an overall policy on the part of Canda's federal government reflecting its 1998 Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP) Final Report, in which the Canadian government promised $350 million to support community-based healing initiatives among the native population. It is worth noting that this initial investment came as part of a policy of restitution for the physical and sexual abuse endured during the period of official state policy for placing Aboriginal children in "Residential Schools," and was intended in addition to treat related issues stemming from the legacy of that endemic abuse, including its intergenerational impact. I trust that I do not need to overemphasize the deleterious effects that this broad scale historical trauma would have upon a population already suffering from an epidemic of alcoholism, and more general substance abuse. In terms of the social programs overseen by the Aboriginal Healing Foundation, the treatment of alcoholism was already an established and important aspect of our mission and focus from the very moment we were established. The Aboriginal Healing Foundation is helping to address such systematic problems within a specific and vulnerable community
The successful implementation of the Aboriginal Healing Foundations projected twelve alcohol treatment facilities will require the following estimated inputs. (Note: All figures are approximate and represent our best projected estimates for the total budgeting over 12 separate facilities.)
Salaries (trained personnel) 4 million
Salaries (untrained personnel) 1.446 million
Retirement 130 thousand
Single Payer Health Withholdings 300 thousand
PERSONNEL SUBTOTAL 5.876 million
Facilities / personnel insurance 1.1 million
Vehicles and vehicular insurance 100 thousand
Other benefits 30 thousand
BUDGET SUBTOTAL 1.23 million
External professional services 340 thousand
Repair / rental of equipment 200 thousand
Travel / miscellaneous expenses 80 thousand
Supplies 850 thousand
Miscellaneous equipment 14 thousand
BILLS SUBTOTAL 1.484 million
Depreciation 150 thousand
Indirect costs 160 thousand
OTHER SUBTOTAL 310 thousand
TOTAL EXPENSES 8.8 million
Because of the cessation of our government funding, we are seeking from the Smithers Foundation the sum of 9 million, with the additional $200,000 not accounted for in the above approximate joint budget for twelve facilities to serve as a cushion in the event of any unforeseen difficulties. The Aboriginal Health Foundations's business plan for the establishment of these twelve independent alcohol-related treatment and healing facilities is divided into three distinct phases:
1. Establishing foundations (2011-2012). This phase involves setting up the facilities and processes to put our twelve proposed centers in place and introduce them to the Aboriginal community.
2. Extension of educational and preventive outreach (2012-2013). The prime purpose of Phase 2 is to scale up the rate and quality of services offered to the communities in which our twelve facilities are placed.
3. Sustainable implementation of future policy (2013). By this time a sustainable model of integrated relations into the community and established public sources of funding should be in place.
Our initial function to serve the survivors of the…