Healing Our Spirit Worldwide is an Indigenous movement which began in Canada in the 1980s to address the devastation of chemical abuse and dependence among Indigenous people around the world. The focus has been to address the underlying issues and difficulties that predispose this particular behaviour among Indigenous people.
The first Gathering in Edmonton in 1992 attracted 3,500 people from 17 countries. The first and subsequent Gatherings have been a cultural and spiritual movement celebrating the tenacity and resiliency of Indigenous people around the world in their struggle against alcohol and drug abuse. This has been achieved through the development of successful proven models and programmes. Health and governance issues in relation to substance abuse have been a more recent focus of the Gatherings.
In December 2011 the International Indigenous Council for Healing Our Spirit Worldwide invited New Zealand to host The Seventh Gathering and Te Rau Matatini entered into a relationship with the International Indigenous Council to lead the hosting of this Gathering.
The purpose of The Seventh Gathering of Healing our Spirit Worldwide 2015 is for Indigenous peoples across the world to come together to share their strength, hope, and wisdom as they face community health, governance, and substance abuse issues. It provides a forum to discuss solutions and to connect and learn from other peoples to heal the spirit, heal the earth, and sustain cultural practices for the next generation.
Te Rau Matatini will also work with other Māori providers, local hapū and marae, Rangatahi, Kaumātua and community groups to ensure there is a high participation of these groups in the conference.