Land Based Healing Model for Nishiiyuu

The Land Based Healing Model for Nishiiyuu (LBHM) is a healing and wellness program implemented and delivered on the hunting territory of each Cree community. The Chisasibi mission is to strengthen the ability of participants to lead a healthy, fulfilling and resilient life. Elders stress that the land and cultural traditions have healing power that can enable individuals in distress deal with pain and self-hurt. Ultimately we aim to improve the mental health of individuals so that they can effectively participate in the life of their family and community and make positive contributions to the collective development of their Nation.

Programming addresses issues related to substance abuse, trauma (physical and sexual abuse, unresolved grief), and the many intergenerational social suffering symptoms associated with residential school. Eeyou methods and teachings form the core principles of the program and promote personal, family and community wellness form a perspective rooted in the Cree way of life. Moreover, the scope of treatment includes prevention, intervention and postvention /aftercare to ensure an effective continuum of care for clients. Therefore, as part of a board community-based approach to service delivery, the LBHM uses an intersectorial and intercommunity approach to service provision that shares resources and knowledge to maximize local capacity building and promote leadership.

Miyupimaatisiiun in Eeyou Istchee

Connection to the land and culture

The model recognizes the healing power of nature and the ‘return to the land’ as a way of connecting individuals to Cree culture and language; promote intergenerational knowledge transfer; and offer a safe space in which individuals can share personal experiences and detoxify (when necessary).

Goals for treatment

The program requires that each client agrees to reachable treatment goals, completion of the land-based program, and attend at least a monthly support meeting.

Harm reduction

The model focuses on treatment that promotes personal responsibility and rational behavior. Harm reduction is thus understood as helping clients move from self-harm to a level of functioning that promotes holistic wellness, which may or may not include total abstinence.

Team composition

The team includes one or two elders who design the treatment plan; a program coordinator; healers and clinical counsellors; and camp helpers. 


This document identifies the minimum program requirements for Land-Based Healing Model (LBHM) programs as well as guidelines to facilitate implementation and ongoing operation.


This is an activities report of the Land-based Healing program that was held at LG4 camp on the Trainstaiga, April 15 to 26, 2013.


This document presents 21 examples of land-based and culture-based programs, operational guidelines, academic articles and other resources used in developing the Land Based Healing Model for Nishiiyuu.


Land for Healing: Developing a First Nations Land-based Service Delivery Model is a document produced by the Thunderbird Partnership Foundation provides common elements of a service delivery model for land-based programs.