Ahousaht people have blessed the ground that will soon be home to their very own healing center. The ceremony took place on March 28 adjacent to the site of the former Ahousaht Residential School, said Elected Chief Greg Louie.
Louie said that there are members willing to go to a treatment centre for addictions, but barrier exist in the long wait and endless requirements needed to get in.
“Many give up and we thought there has to be a better way,” said Louie.
In September 2019 Ahousaht made the announcement about the planned healing centre but the COVID-19 pandemic effectively put the brakes on projects like this one. At that time, Julia Atleo, manager of Ahousaht’s holistic centre, said she hopes many people will find sobriety and healing at this new facility. In addition, she hoped that with the help of a physician, it will also offer much-needed detox beds.
Chah Chum Hii Yup Tiic Mis, Ahousaht’s holistic centre, pitched the idea of a local treatment facility and received a very generous $2.5 million from a private donor.
“They want to support First Nations healing and wellness and so we are pleased, thankful, grateful for this gift,” said Louie.
The centre will feature a meeting space with kitchen facilities, offices and accommodations for non-residents taking part in programs there.
Louie says that the facility will not only be for Ahousaht members, but also for all other Nuu-chah-nulth people who wish to take part in programs offered there. The work being done will focus heavily on culture, said Atleo in 2019.
Louie said the new facility will be used to better the future of Ahousaht’s youth through addictions counselling, workshops and healing services, which will all be based in cultural wellness teachings.
With the site cleared, construction will begin soon and is expected to be complete in fall 2022.