The Healing Fund directs funding to innovative projects to address the ongoing impacts of the Indian Residential School System for survivors and their descendants. Awakening Indigenous is a program funded by the Healing Fund of the United Church that inspires its participants by teaching self-care and healing through breath work and meditation techniques.

Jenny Morgan, Gitxsan First Nation, and Nathan Zafran, Polish/Jewish ancestry, formed Awakening Indigenous to bring free learning to interested participants with a focus on reaching out to Indigenous peoples in Vancouver and surrounding areas such as Prince George, Vancouver Island, Prince Rupert, Hazelton, Smithers, Terrace, and Hagwilget.

As the Healing Programs Coordinator, I am not always able to travel to projects to witness how participants benefit from them. Therefore, it was a pleasant surprise to receive an e-mail from Jenny offering to co-facilitate with Nathan the Healing Body, Mind and Spirit workshop for everyone at the General Council office. It was a rare opportunity we welcomed right away.

Among a circle of curious staff, we all followed Jenny and Nathan’s directions in meditation. As I breathed, I felt the tingling in my body and sensed the expansion of my awareness that re-connected me to ancestral helpers that walk with me on a daily basis. I heard various responses from my colleagues such as seeing a tree with a robin, feeling more grounded, and finally being able to calm their thinking and listen to the silence.

Awakening Indigenous teaches simple techniques that connect you with the silence to enjoy the peace already within. I think of the residential school survivors and communities who learned these skills from Jenny and Nathan and I am hopeful.

—Honarine Scott is Omushkego Cree from Fort Albany First Nation and is the Healing Programs Coordinator in the Aboriginal Ministries Circle of The United Church of Canada.

If you would like to help the Healing Fund support more projects like this, donate online or by mail to:

The United Church of Canada—Healing Fund
3250 Bloor St. West, Suite 200
Toronto, ON M8X 2Y4