Strengthening Community Mental Health & Psychosocial Support During Emergencies

Keywords Case Study, Wildfire, Flooding, Disaster Response, Strategic Planning, Environmental Scan


Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society is an Edmonton-based Indigenous-led agency committed to supporting Indigenous children and families to grow spiritually, emotionally, physically, and mentally.

In 2023, PolicyWise for Children & Families partnered with Bent Arrow on a wisdom-seeking journey to learn, document, and share Bent Arrow’s experiences implementing An Act Respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis Children, Youth and Families. The Act, formerly Bill C-92, is the first law to recognize and affirm inherent Indigenous jurisdiction over child and family services.

The resulting Case Study builds on Bent Arrow’s Practise as Ceremony model to show how they are implementing the Act by centering the spirit of the Indigenous child, supporting healing through kinship, bridging worldviews, and practicing in relationship.

Policy & Practice Implications

  • The Case Study provides insights for respectfully and thoughtfully engaging with Indigenous teachings and stories, offering entry points for others seeking to walk in partnership with Indigenous communities to implement the Act.
  • Engaging in ceremony, circle, and cultural teachings can help Indigenous and non-Indigenous service providers learn and work together in a good way.
  • Children and family service providers can learn from Bent Arrow’s Practise as Ceremony model, inspired by a Sundance Ceremony, to enhance their understanding of and respect for Indigenous ways of knowing and being, recognize the inherent strength of Indigenous families and communities, and develop culturally responsive service delivery.
  • Service providers can learn about the importance of developing trusting relationships and shared understandings to better advocate for Indigenous children and families and meet the National Standards outlined in the Act.


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