This program is currently seeking funding approval. Gii Way Quin Daki-Menan: Coming Home to Our Land (CHOL) is a Wilderness Healing Centre for Indigenous peoples to be established in Georgian Bay, Ontario, at the mouth of Key River. This place of majestic natural beauty has been home to generations of Indigenous peoples and provides the perfect venue to support the CHOL vision.
With the Key River lands secured, CHOL seeks to develop a place of healing for Indigenous peoples through holistic therapies that draw on Indigenous cultural traditions. These therapies take their inspiration from Anishnabia traditions of living off the land and from the Canadian Outward Bound Wilderness School curriculum and operating model. The therapies that shall be offered include: cultural and spiritual teachings and practices, including life Vision Quests and sweat ceremonies; Indigenous, Eastern and Western healing interventions; and life, survival and outdoor skills development. Two culturally/spiritually compatible employment skills training programs will also be offered, including a specialized woodworking program, and later, training and support in eco-tourism.
CHOL program graduates will be encouraged to create product offshoots with more distinctive contemporary Indigenous design features. It is intended that each hand made production will be officially certified to reflect it as an original Indigenous piece. All wood products are made only from local Ontario wood that has been salvaged from forests or reclaimed from building demolition, with trees never cut solely for production.
The CHOL unique hand-crafted wood skills program shall offer 3 months on-site training to participants who will subsequently return to their home communities with related supplies and equipment which will allow program graduates to immediate produce market ready products and continue to evolve their skills, with ongoing technical, business and marketing support through the CHOL program.
CHOL will play an active role in evolving a strong procurement, supply-chain, Indigenous branding/certification and marketing infrastructure for its graduates at both the individual and community levels.
Nation Imagination's Authentically Aboriginal (www.imaginationgroup.ca ) will be granting Indigenous authenticity certification to artistic works produced by Indigenous participants in related carving, live-edge and potentially other works.
Together with Native Child and Family Services of Toronto /Native Learning Centre (East), we are planning a similar wood skills training program and wood carving program in the Kingston-Galloway community of Scarborough--one of, if not the, largest urban Indigenous communities in Canada. Both the northern and urban programs are endorsed by the David Suzuki Foundation (www.davidsuzuki.org ) which will provide guidelines and oversight to assure sustainably sourced woods.