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Author(s): Marion Maar, Medical Anthropology, Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Sudbury, ON, Canada; Tim Ominika; Darrel Manitowabi, Laurentian University
SummaryWiikwemikoong Unceded Territory is one of the largest and fastest growing First Nation communities in Canada. While the community has much to be proud of with many thriving individuals, pristine waters and lands, strong language, culture and heritage, the consequences of centuries of colonial oppression are also undeniably present. Community statistics indicate that addictions have been shifting from alcohol to opioid addictions at rapidly increasing rates. The result is a rise in health and social problems, including drug-related illnesses, mental health issues, family violence, loss of children into foster care, trafficking of women and breakdown of the social fabric of parts of the community. Wiikwemikoong is moving away from a punitive approach to opioid addictions and has been successful at offering culturally-based opioid replacement therapy at the community level. This community-owned, culturally safe approach called Naandwe Miikaan (Healing Path) supports addicts with an Indigenous wellness perspective. Program components supporting recovery include traditional counseling and land-based activities.