Healing Our Spirit Worldwide is an Indigenous movement that began in Canada in the 1980s to address the devastation of substance 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 peoples around the world 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.
The Covenant of Healing Our Spirit Worldwide
Celebrating that our Creator has given Indigenous Peoples, who belong to the land and the sea, a unique and rich collection of gifts including mother earth, the sky and water, our families and nations, our culture and wisdom and our own lives;
Recognising that these gifts rest at the heart of our past, our present and our future;
Believing that the Spirit is the energy that empowers us to share, replenish, protect and respect these gifts according to the Creator’s design;
Remembering the devastation and confusion that colonisation brought, including alcohol and disease; Grieving for the land taken and the loss of communal life.
We the Indigenous Peoples of the world having come together as part of the Healing Our Spirit Worldwide movement declare with one voice and heart our resolve to strengthen the Spirit of our Nations and Peoples, to clear from our hearts and minds the clouds of confusion and doubt.
We hold as true and as our guide the teaching of our grandmothers and grandfathers that we hold a sacred role to protect, maintain and respect the Creator’s gifts so that our children and generations of children after them may live a healthy and rich life. Our responsibility to address, enhance and restore our sacred role, as custodians of these gifts we need to make wise decisions because we are accountable to the Creator and to generations to come.
The health and well-being of our people and nations is built on our ability to maintain compassionate, functioning relationships within ourselves, with the earth, each other, our families and communities. Knowledge and wisdom are our partners and we must enrich them both and use them well if our children are to build a meaningful future. We commit ourselves to work in unity and with resolve to strengthen and heal the spirit of our Peoples.