Trigger warning: Readers may be triggered by the recount of Indian Residential Schools. To access a 24-hour National Crisis Line, call: 1-866-925-4419. Community Assistance Program (CAP) can be accessed by Anishinabek Nation member first nation citizens: 1-800-663-1142.


Healing can occur at an individual level and requires the survivor to learn strategies to cope with the anxiety and negative emotions or behavioural reactions to the trauma. Seeking counselling from a counsellor trained in trauma therapy or a cultural support person/elder is often recommended.

Some helpful coping skills to learn to cope with trauma and intergenerational trauma are:

* Muscle relaxation and deep breathing
* Thought stopping
* Pleasant imagery
* Positive self-talk
* Recognizing triggers and reminders
* Family and social support
* Creating a story that empowers one to survive and see strengths

As trauma and intergenerational trauma was the result of attacks to the culture and spirit of the children, addressing these soul wounds often requires cultural interventions and supports. Cultural ceremonies and practice allow one to reclaim their cultural identity and pride while learning strategies to cope with the impacts of the trauma.

Healing from intergenerational trauma has 4 critical components:

  1. Confront our trauma and embrace our history by learning Anishinabek history and what happened. Knowledge is power!
  2. Understand the trauma by learning about trauma reactions and cultural practices to address grief and loss.
  3. Release the pain; usually through cultural ceremonies/practices that creates a sense of belonging and connection to land, culture and others with a shared history.
  4. Transcend the trauma by moving to healing that allows us to define ourselves in ways that move beyond the trauma.

The Elders have shared that we have all the teachings within us to be well and live a good life –
“mno-biimaadzawin”. Reclaiming culture and language have the ability to set us free from the soul wounds inflicted on our people and community. We are thankful to all those survivors who spoke out and demanded healing and brought about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.