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NTI to launch healing program for residential school survivors

NR 03-20 QAU ENG Qauma.doc

(OCTOBER 10, 2003 — Iqaluit, Nunavut) Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated announced today that the Qauma Mobile Treatment Program, a community-based healing initiative, will begin this fall, thanks to funding secured from the Aboriginal Healing Foundation.

This Program gives practical effect to NTI’s commitment to help the survivors of residential schools, said NTI President Cathy Towtongie, the Executive Member responsible for social and cultural development matters. NTI promised the former students of Sir Joseph Bernier Residential School in 1993 that we would find funding to deal with the long-lasting effects of their experience, a promise we renewed in 2000.

The mission of the Aboriginal Healing Foundation is to encourage and support Aboriginal people in building and reinforcing sustainable healing processes that address the legacy of Physical and Sexual Abuse in the Residential School system, including intergenerational impacts. The Foundation will provide approximately $2 million over four years for the Qauma program.

The Qauma program consists of a one-month-long treatment program offered in a selected community. Through four one-week modules, healers will create opportunities for people to share together and support each other in an awareness and understanding of the history, issues and long-term impacts of their residential school experiences.

The program will be offered in its first year in four communities. At least 16 communities will participate in the program by the time it ends on March 31, 2007. The timing and location of the program will be decided by a Committee made up of Survivors. This Committee will work closely with NTI throughout the life of the program.

The legacy of the Residential Schools in northern communities is a terrible one for too many Inuit, said Towtongie. We want to honour those Survivors who, despite the many years that have passed, remained true to their goals and their commitment to seek assistance and help others. Special recognition should also be given to the NTI staff and the Survivors Tasiuqtiit (support group) who spent a great period of time developing the program, especially our Community Wellness Co-ordinator, Monica Ittusardjuat.

There will be a unique combination of Inuit Traditional Healers, facilitators and therapeutic counsellors working with the Qauma program. Programming will vary by community to reflect need. There will be a focus on both individual and community healing, including support activities that will help people reclaim relationships damaged by their Residential School experiences.

For further information:

Pat Angnakak
Director of Social & Cultural Development
Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated
Tel: (867) 975-4900 Wayne Spear
Senior Communications Officer