NCSA's CEO, Board of Directors, Management, and Staff operate programs and perform their jobs within a specific philosophy around the interconnected nature of all relationships. Within this model, we contribute to the health and healing of our families and communities by helping to reclaim worldview, reconcile damaged relationships and provide the environment for individuals to self-determine.
In June 2015, NCSA celebrated its 45th Anniversary as an agency. Watch the video below to learn more about NCSA’s philosophy and vision for the future.
The NCSA Model begins with a Spiral
The cyclical nature of life is a fundamental understanding for Indigenous cultures around the world. For thousands of years, this understanding has been carved into stone and embedded in our philosophy.
This spiral represents Cree worldview, the interconnected nature of all human relationships. A worldview is the way we see and interpret the world, it includes our philosophy, values, and beliefs. Our worldview ties everything together and allows us to understand society, the world and our place in it.
Rules that define relationships
In a healthy society, we have rules (or teachings) that define our relationships with all living beings, including specific teachings that help us to have good relationships in our families and communities. These rules provide healthy boundaries that ensure people will feel safe, secure and able to live “the good life.”
Wahkowtowin is represented by the space in between levels of the spirals
In many Indigenous cultures, these teachings are based upon the values of:
These rules are represented by the spaces in-between each level of the spiral; they provide a structure that keeps the spiral upright and healthy.
For example, in many Aboriginal cultures, there are specific teachings on the rules that guide the relationship between the individual and their family. When these teachings are followed, children are raised in an environment where they feel loved and protected. When they become adults, they are able to form trusting relationships with their children.
Since 1763, colonial laws have been passed to assimilate Indian people into British and Canadian society.
The abduction of children into residential schools for over 100 years was the government’s most powerful instrument of colonization; separating children from their family and culture and resocializing them into European Christian society. Many children suffered from emotional, physical and sexual abuse in the schools.
Colonization’s impact on Indigenous communities and worldview
As generations of children were removed from their families, they were left to feel neither a part of their Aboriginal families and communities, nor a part of the broader Canadian community. Colonization was a direct attack on the rules that informed healthy family relationships.
Without the infrastructure of rules, the spiral is weakened and collapses on itself.
The boundaries that define healthy relationships become transgressed and the spiral becomes a tangled, chaotic knot. For many Aboriginal people, this is experienced as family violence as a result of Historic Trauma; including spiritual, psychological, emotional, physical and sexual abuse in families and communities.
Healing and building family resilience requires work and growth in three interconnected components:
1. Reclamation of an Interconnected Worldview
The first step in the healing process is to reclaim an interconnected worldview and positive Aboriginal identity. Healing begins by learning about the impacts of colonization and understanding the roots of trauma-based behavior (i.e., family violence).
2. Reconciliation of Damaged Relationships
The second step is to relearn the rules and boundaries of healthy relationships. Healing relationships within families, communities, as well as between First Nations and the rest of Canada is a process that must be undertaken by all Canadians. For some Aboriginal people, going to ceremonies and reconciling their relationships with themselves, their families and their community is an important part of the healing process.
3. Self-Determination of Ones’ Own Future
Finally, one of the most difficult outcomes of colonization was the damage to the capacity of Aboriginal individuals, families and communities to determine their own future. Healing programs must be created, directed and implemented by Aboriginal people. Successful solutions to intergenerational trauma caused by colonization already exist within the community and for many people, within Aboriginal teachings.
See the Spiral come to life in this video from the series, The Sacred Relationship
See more videos here at NCSA’s YouTube Channel