Healing Our Spirit Worldwide The Fifth Gathering 2006

An Excerpt


The Healing Our Spirit Worldwide movement began as one person’s vision to create an international forum and movement focused on the alcohol and drug abuse issues and programs in Indigenous communities throughout the global community. Maggie Hodgson, a Carriere First Nation woman, began her lobbying efforts with the International Congress on Alcohol and Addictions (ICAA) and the World Health Organization in the late 1980s. In 1990, the ICAA included a special track on Indigenous addictions issues at their Berlin Conference. Attended by Indigenous peoples of Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, this forum led to a discussion that became the foundation for an international healing movement.

Plans for this event began in 1991 with conference hosts Nechi Institute on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Education and the National Native Association of Treatment Directors inviting the National Association for Native American Children of Alcoholics as co-hosts. The event was named Healing Our Spirit Worldwide. The first gathering in Edmonton, in 1992, attracted 3,300 people from seventeen countries of the world. This began the celebration of our successes, programs and stories. The second gathering was held in Sydney, Australia in 1994, the third in Rotorua, Aotearoa (New Zealand) in 1998. These Healing Our Spirit Worldwide events were a cultural and spiritual movement celebrating the tenacity and resilience of Indigenous peoples around the world in the struggle against alcohol and drug abuse. The fourth gathering of Healing Our Spirit Worldwide, held in Albuquerque, New Mexico in September 2002, expanded the vision with the inclusion of health and governance issues in relation to alcohol and drug abuse.

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