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Coast Salish Territory – The First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) and First Nations Health Council (FNHC) have been invited by the Tsow-Tun-Le-Lum Society to witness a ground-blessing ceremony on Saturday, June 12 for a new Indigenous healing facility that will be located on Cowichan reserve near Duncan on Vancouver Island.
In 2018, the FNHC - with the FNHA as a supporter - the Province of BC and the Government of Canada signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU): Tripartite Partnership to Improve Mental Health and Wellness Services and Achieve Progress on the Social Determinants of Health and Wellness. The MOU included a commitment to replace six existing buildings and to build two new treatment centres in BC in order to increase access to effective, culturally safe and responsive mental health and substance use services and supports. This commitment involved a $20 million funding contribution from the BC Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions, matched by FNHA, with an anticipated similar contribution from the federal government.
“I am pleased to see the outcome of our unique work in partnership with the federal and provincial governments," said Paul Sam, the FNHC representative for the Coastal Salish family. “This the first of the eight centres to get to the construction phase."
A 50-year lease for the new Tsow-Tun Le Lum Society Healing Centre was signed March 1, 2021 and comes at a critical time for BC First Nations.
“The dual crises of toxic drugs and COVID-19, the anti-racism investigation resulting in the In Plain Sight report and the trauma triggered by recent findings at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School are having a significant impact on the mental health and wellness of First Nations people of BC," said Richard Jock, CEO of the FNHA. “The FNHA is pleased to contribute funds toward the replacement of the Tsow Tun Le Lum facility, which plays an important role in supporting the trauma and addictions needs of First Nations people across the province."
The new facility will replace the existing 32-bed Tsow-Tun Le Lum Healing House in Snaw-Naw-As First Nation near Lantzville, which has provided culturally safe addiction and trauma recovery programs for thousands of First Nations people since opening in 1988.
“The Tsow-Tun Le Lum Society provides programs and support services designed to help First Nations deal with unresolved trauma," said Nola Jeffrey, Executive Director of Tsow-Tun Le Lum Society. “We are extremely grateful for the support shown for our programs, and for the commitment of the Province of BC, the FNHA, and others who came together to fund and to help construct this modern new facility."
In addition to the trauma and treatment programs, Tsow-Tun Le Lum provides trauma-informed, culturally grounded supports to people affected by unresolved trauma associated with Indian Residential Schools, Indian Day Schools, and Missing and Murdered Indigenous women and girls.
To access cultural support and direct services, or outreach services for BC residents, please call the toll-free line at 1-888-403-3123; or the main office at 250-390-3123.
Tsow-Tun Le Lum Society is also currently fundraising for additional funds for its new centre with a GoFundMe campaign and through direct interact e-transfers.