Traditional Health Program

Traditional Healing is rooted in the Anishnaabek worldview of harmony and balance. Inherent in this principle is our personal responsibility to ensure balance & harmony in our Physical, Mental, Spiritual & Emotional aspects.

Our goal is to facilitate access to diverse traditional healing services and cultural ceremonies  for, and with, our communities and to actively advance cultural safety in the delivery of primary health care to Aboriginal people.

Communities autonomously select and coordinate traditional healing and ceremonies to address the effects of residential school.

In collaboration with its partners the Aboriginal Health Access Centre (AHAC) coordinates 1-2  Gatherings annually which provide a wide variety of Anishnaabek based teachings, ceremonies and activities identified by the communities. Event location is rotated across the region to increase accessibility for all community members.

Our Traditional Health and Healing Coordinator is available to deliver a train-the-trainer workshop entitled, Weaving Mind, Body and Spirit into Presentation Development & Facilitation, as well as provide cross-cultural training workshops.

Funding for the regional program is received from Health Canada’s First Nation, Inuit Health Branch (FNIHB) , Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program.

For more information about the regional programs services or to arrange for training and/or presentations, please contact the Traditional Health and Healing Program Coordinator.

Cheryl Hankard
Healing Program Coordinator
N’Mninoeyaa Aboriginal Health Access Centre
473B Hwy 17 West
Cutler, ON
P0P 1B0

(705) 844-2021 ext. 310

General Protocols for Traditional Ceremonies

  • It is customary to offer semma (tobacco) to an
    Elder/Healer when requesting information, attending
    ceremony, asking for medicine/healing, etc.
  • Semma can be offered loose, tied in cloth, or in an
    unopened pouch – ask what is preferred.
  • Woman cannot participate in ceremony or handle
    medicine if they are on their moon-time (monthly
  • It is customary for women to wear skirts when
    attending ceremonies.
  • Smudging ceremony is common before many
    traditional activities.
  • Alcohol (or drug) use is not permitted when taking
    traditional medicine or if participating in ceremony.
  • Alcohol (or drug) use is not usually permitted for 4
    days prior to seeing a Healer – remember to ask.
  • There are many types of traditional healing &
    Traditional Healers – it’s considered respectful to give
    a gift to the Healer for their help.
  • Generally once a ceremony has begun – you can’t leave.

Naandwe Noojimowin (formerly Beauty from Ashes)


Naandwe Noojimowin (Assisting in the Healing Movement toward the Good Life), was formerly called the Beauty From Ashes program. It is an intensive (voluntary) 5-day residential program that benefits anyone seeking to understand the connection between childhood trauma, and how they interact with and relate to people they come into contact with everyday. This program provides insight into personal behaviours, helps participants understand their relational style and where it originates from, and offers tools for improving communication and relationships.

Through collaborative partnerships with Benbowopka Treatment Centre in Blind River and the Dan Pine Healing Lodge in Garden River First Nation, we are able to offer these events at two different locations throughout the year. Learning materials, meals and shared accommodations are provided FREE, however, participants are responsible for their own transportation to and from the event location.

Upcoming Events: November 10-14, 2017 (Blind River); February 9-13, 2018 (Blind River).