Since 2009 the Miyupimaatissiiun Committee has been working towards developing and implementing a model of wellness for Chisasibi that responds to the needs of our members and is based on Eeyou knowledge and traditions. After an intensive community consultation process during 2010 and 2011 which consisted of two Symposiums on health and social services as well as two roundtables on Eeyou Knowledge, the Committee began to collaborate closely with the Nishiiyuu Department (CHB) in developing a land-based healing model in addition of finalizing a 5-Year Wellness Plan for Chisasibi.

Elders Eddie Pash and Noah Snowboy provided the cultural relevant aspects of the land-based model as well as delivered the program in the bush. In 2013 a draft curriculum for the land-based model was completed and the program is now in its 4th edition.

These planning processes as well as other culturally relevant activities were made possible by the CHB Community Initiatives Fund, which ended in 2013. The Miyupimaatissiiun Committee nevertheless believed that the programming developed over the past 4 years responded to the community needs and closed some of the gaps in service provision in terms of health and wellness. The Committee therefore submitted a proposal for a Mental Wellness Team program with Health Canada in September 2013. The proposal was accepted and in November we received confirmation that Chisasibi secured $250,000 over the next three years (2013-2016).

Mental Wellness Teams (MWT) are community-based, client-centred, multidisciplinary teams of community workers that provide a variety of culturally safe mental health and addictions services. MWTs are defined and driven by the community and aim towards integrating Aboriginal traditional, cultural, and mainstream clinical approaches, spanning the continuum of care from prevention to aftercare. MWTs will therefore facilitate the participation and the involvement of the different sectors of service providers (education, social services), Health Agencies and other relevant partners. MWTs are expected to provide services in minimum two communities within a given region.

The Chisasibi Mental Wellness Team (CMWT) will focus on developing a multidisciplinary intervention team for the Land-based Healing Program as well as community-based aftercare services. The Team is presently organizing a Community Addictions Training Program with Edmonton-based Nechi Institute which will include collaboration and resource sharing with CHRD and Nishiiyuu Department. It is expected that 15 individuals will take part in the training and will eventually make up the bulk of the MWT in Chisasibi. Over the next couple of months the CMWT will organize a community-wide information and consultation session as well as a feast to celebrate this great opportunity for improving the miyupimaatissiiun of our community.
For more information on the MWT please contact Larry House at 819-855-7736