Addressing trauma: Seabird Island’s recovery homes offer holistic approach to healing

New facilities mark investment in on-reserve recovery

Dozens braved a darkening sky for the grand opening of Seabird Island’s new bright and spacious recovery homes at a ceremony Nov. 30.

The A:yelexw Men’s and Women’s Recovery Homes have been in the community for a few years, but the new facilities – a sunny yellow home for women and a mossy green one for men, placed side by side just off Highway 7 near the band office – have enhanced the program and elevated Seabird Island as a leader in the province for providing on-reserve holistic health services.

The first home Seabird renovated is only steps away from the two new structures. The blue, four-unit family home is a place for family healing and growing, while the newer homes are for individuals.

Related: Seabird completes renovation of family home

Each of the new recovery homes can house up to 12 people. Some are from Seabird Island, but the homes accept people from across the Fraser Health region who have struggled with addiction. Residents can stay for up to a year, but are able to continue accessing services at Seabird Island once they leave.

“They’re called recovery homes because they’re really about people recovering what they’ve lost or maybe never had,” said Henri de Boer, executive assistant to the director of health and social development at Seabird Island.

Residents are “recovering their culture, recovering their pride, recovering their family relationships…,” said de Boer in a phone call with the Observer.

With investment from Fraser Health, the First Nations Health Authority and the Ministry of Child and Family Development, de Boer said the homes are a step towards reconciliation and part of a larger initiation to recognize the lasting harm caused by colonization.

“Our councillors would say ‘addiction’ is the wrong word. We should actually be using the word ‘trauma.’” de Boer said. “Because addiction really has to do with trauma, and now we’re actually working on the trauma done by the legacies of colonization.”

At the homes, residents have access to employment support and education at Seabird College, where many work on upgrading. There are available councilors, physicians, pharmacists and other health care workers, most of whom are First Nations.

“It can be very daunting to go be in the hospital, there’s lots of discrimination there, lots of stereotypes,” de Boer said. “It’s far more comfortable for people here. We have two full-time First Nations doctors and most of our health staff are First Nations, so there’s something you can relate when you go for any kind of help.”

Access to cultural supports and events like drum circles, spirit walks and spirit bathing are based on the medicine wheel and a holistic approach to healing, de Boer explained.

Perhaps most importantly, residents are able to heal without going too far from their families, their culture and their homes.

Because it’s the ‘going away’ part of many recovery homes and treatment centres that doesn’t work, de Boer said.

“People had to ‘go away’ to go to residential schools. They don’t want to go away. They want to stay home, they want to stay close to what’s familiar to them and the people they love,” she said.

“We all turn to the people we love when we face difficulties, right? So to be able to do that right here at home is tremendous step forward.”

Related: New B.C. daycare a model for reconciliation

Related: Reconcili-ACTION gives Canadians next steps for reconciliation



nina.grossman@ahobserver.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Comments are closed

Just Posted

95-site RV camping to be built in Manning Park

RV park one of first to be built in a provincial park

Search continues for person seen floating in Coquihalla River in Hope

Rescuers halted the search Thursday night as darkness fell

Missing Chilliwack woman has not been in contact with family for several months

The RCMP are asking for the public’s help in locating 35-year-old Chantelle Chenier of Chilliwack

Rescuers halt Coquihalla River search due to darkness, after reports of person in river

No information to indicate a child is involved, RCMP state, after this information surfaced on social media

PHOTOS: Superintendent retires from SD78 with car parade, Indigenous honour ceremony

Karen Nelson has been superintendent in Fraser Cascade for 11 years, 29 years total at the district

13 new B.C. COVID-19 cases, Langley Lodge outbreak ends

Health care outbreaks down to four, 162 cases active

Greater Vancouver home sales start to tick up, with prices holding steady

Residential sales last month reached 2,443, a 64.5 per cent jump from May

Langley Lodge’s deadly outbreak declared over

Fraser Health and long-term care home administrator confirm Friday declaration

PHOTOS: South Surrey tractor project evokes ‘$1-million smile,’ helps connect neighbours

Retired Surrey firefighter Ron Henze began project for friend’s dad to fill time during pandemic

Alberta health minister orders review into response after noose found in hospital in 2016

A piece of rope tied into a noose was found taped to the door of an operating room at the Grande Prairie Hospital in 2016

B.C.’s major rivers surge, sparking flood warnings

A persistent low pressure system over Alberta has led to several days of heavy rain

B.C.’s Indigenous rights law faces 2020 implementation deadline

Pipeline projects carry on as B.C. works on UN goals

‘Mind boggling’: B.C. man $1 million richer after winning Lotto 6/49 a second time

David O’Brien hopes to use his winnings to travel and of course keep playing the lottery

Most Read