Program Feature Graphic

Buffalo Sage Wellness House

All Regions


Buffalo Sage Wellness House (BSWH) is a 28-bed Community Residential Facility that houses Conditionally Released and Federally Sentenced Indigenous female offenders.

Buffalo Sage has a home-like atmosphere with kitchenette and laundry facilities where personal development, life skills, and healing are practiced daily. Native Counselling Services of Alberta’s vision for Buffalo Sage Wellness House includes a daily routine for the residents that would consist of household chores, programs and employment training.

Spirit of a Warrior Circle lead by the late Vicki Whalen


(780) 917-8110

Our goal will be to help these women secure employment and gain independent living skills they will require upon release. In addition to programming offered at BSWH, women regularly attend Sharing Circles, Sweat Ceremonies, Powwows, Round Dances, Night Lodge Ceremonies, and year-round Sun Dance Ceremonies. BSWH is in constant communication with Aboriginal communities and the events that take place so we can encourage our women to attend.

Resident Requirements

  • Must be minimum security
  • Low risk to Public Safety
  • Completed Core Correctional Programming
  • Must conduct an in-person or Teleconference interview
  • Willing to participate in Indigenous culture, work with Elders and encouraged to participate in ceremonies.

As part of preparation for community re-integration, Residents at BSWH are eligible for:

  • Temporary Absences
  • Job Placements
  • Educational Programs
  • Community Programming (e.g. AA and NA)


Spirit of a Warrior
The foundational program at Buffalo Sage Wellness House is the Spirit of a Warrior Program. Guided by Elders, this circle-based group program explores the effects of personal and historical trauma and provides opportunities for spiritual exploration and healing. NCSA designed Spirit of a Warrior Program to assist Aboriginal women who are caught in the cycle of violence. The Warrior programs usually require 30 days to complete based upon a 6 hour program day. The programs are founded on the basic principles of Natural Law (caring, kindness, respect, love and self-determination), which are learned through ceremony and ritual. The Spirit of a Warrior Program is delivered by two trained facilitators, under the guidance and with the participation of an Elder.

Relationships Program
Relationship training is offered to BSWH residents to help them lay a solid foundation in building their relationships of any kind being parent child, husband, wife, brother, sister, employer, co-workers, or simple friendship they have built over time. It is hoped that once the residents have a clear understanding of all types of relationships, the skills will help them to focus on changing in the present for a more crime free future.

Grief and Loss Program
This program was developed to help participants learn to recover from losses in their lives. “Loss” can mean a wide variety of events in our lives, however, in this program the focus is on: loss through death, loss of freedom and loss of identity. The program will identify specific losses and provide participants with the tools and skills to begin their personal loss recovery. Participants will be given the opportunity to explore their individual needs and the experience walking through their process.

Mother Child Program
Wellbriety Program

Residential School Health Support Workers



The effective operation of BSWH relies on the belief that Aboriginal offenders and Non-Aboriginal offenders following the Aboriginal culture require specific programs to address their social, educational, emotional, physical and spiritual needs in a culturally sensitive approach. BSWH develops the appropriate programs to assist the women offenders in recognizing their full potential for reintegration back into the community and to provide a high quality of support and supervision for our offenders by ensuring the protection of society, our offenders and their communities.

The main objective of BSWH is to assist the offenders in their reintegration back into the community and become law abiding citizens by developing solid structured release plans and the opportunity of building their credibility and stability in the community by participating in either Escorted Temporary Absences (ETAs), Unescorted Temporary Absences (UTAs) or a Work Release (WR).

Vision Statement

Through proactive planning, we will provide culturally sensitive programs that appropriately reflect the changing needs of the Aboriginal women offender, the community and the releasing authorities. We will assist our clients to identify individual needs and develop and appropriate Correctional Plan to assist their holistic development. We will develop a structured environment that will encourage continuous healthy communication with our partners and which will assist our clients on their healing path.

Value Statement

We respect our traditions, diversity and have responsibilities to the future. We promote honesty, trust and fairness in all of our relationships.

The mandate of BSWH is to provide support to the residents of BSWH to the Edmonton area. BSWH accepts primarily Aboriginal female offenders. However, we are willing to accept those who respect the Aboriginal Culture and who seek to heal themselves through the programming available at the BSWH. On site programs are designed to assist women offenders to safely return to society equipped to take their roles as productive member of their communities.