- Jessica Ford
Land-based programming includes a wide variety of formally organized activities taking place on the land such as trapping, fishing, and hunting, maintaining a camp, or selective activities such as medicine walk or arts and crafts workshops. They may include ceremonial activities such as sweats, blanket ceremony, pipe ceremony, or smudging, but this is not always the case. Generally, land-based programs have storytelling, legends, and teachings components, and thus can be viewed as a culturally-specific therapeutic and educational experience. Unless the participant group is culturally diverse, such as in the case of youth treatment centres, most land-based programs are delivered in the local Indigenous language. Language is foundational to delivering cultural interventions on the land, especially knowledge related to place names, cultural practices, social organization and local history, to name a few. When aligned with the outcomes of the First Nations Mental Wellness Continuum and Indigenous Wellness Frameworks, land-based programs can connect participants to land and traditional activities facilitating hope, nurture belonging and give meaning and purpose in life. Conditions are created to live life as a whole and healthy person. The elements in the various delivery models assess target multiple determinants of health such as self-determination, language acquisition, cultural values, life-skills, human-nature relations, ethics, and social cohesion. These elements align with outcomes identified in the First Nations Mental Wellness Continuum framework. Each community and Nation set the scope of their own land-based programs, it is hoped the present delivery model will guide programs in a way that is culturally safe, honours local resources, and builds expertise at home. Indigenous knowledge is unique in honouring the land as life source, above and beyond a mere resource to be exploited. Indigenous worldview underlines the need to see land as the source of knowledge and healing.
- gain understanding of how Culturally-safe land-based programs provide an opportunity for Indigenous peoples to connect or re-connect with who they are
- gain an introduction and some understanding of the First Nations Mental Wellness Continuum framework which supports the land-based service models
- gain appreciation for the importance of supporting conversation and policy that foster First Nation development and delivery of Land Based SDM.