Unist’ot’en Healing Centre
The Unist’ot’en began construction of the Healing Center in 2015 to fulfill their vision of a culturally-safe healing program, centered on the healing properties of the land. Constructed entirely from donated materials and volunteer labor, the building features a full kitchen, dining space, meeting rooms, and lodging for elders and participants. Programming began in 2016 with the first Wet’suwet’en Youth Art Camp, and has expanded to include treatment for addictions, women’s groups, cultural workshops, and language schools.
Regardless of the amenities provided by the Healing Center building, the true success of the healing programming depends on connection to, and traditional use of, the land itself. All of Talbits Kwah territory is required for hunting, trapping, gathering medicines, berry picking, and visiting cultural ceremonial sites. Man camps and pipelines threaten all of those rights.
Even during the RCMP raids and threats of violence, and throughout the current militarized occupation, the Healing Center has continued to be a space where life-saving support and services are provided to Wet’suwet’en people. It is the embodiment of self-determined wellness and decolonization.
The zine “Heal the People, Heal the Land” was created to share history and testimonials of the healing that takes place at the Unist’ot’en Camp.
CLICK HERE for on-screen version (file set up to view on a computer or device)
CLICK HERE for printable version (file set up to print lettersize, front and back)
So many indigenous people and reporters have come out to Unist’ot’en land and found it to be healing experience, to live on the land and have a connection with the natural world and our teachings.
We saw the healing lodge as an opportunity to expand and offer this to our community members. We envision holding healing camps there. It is a chance to return to some of our traditional teachings and land-based wellness practices of our ancestors.
Our people have been impacted by intergenerational trauma, and disconnected from those practices.
We are part of something bigger than ourselves. I am hoping we can emphasize how those traditional ways relate to current healing practices, leading to more holistic ways of achieving physical, psychological, and spiritual balance.
– from an interview with Karla Tait