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inimin sīpīsis - Blueberry Creek Healing Forest

Leslieville, Alberta Established in 2022 The iyinimin sīpīsis Healing Forest was established in 2022 on four hectares of meadow and forest, next to an environmental reserve along the Blueberry Creek. Situated in rural central Alberta, the site is located on private land. With wildlife paths, informal walking trails and a labyrinth, it provides natural space for meditation, prayer, reflection, teachings, and ceremony. The mixed-wood valley also supports a wildlife corridor, migratory bird flight path, pollinator conservation area. Its forests and wetlands yield many medicinal plants under a sky resplendent with stars in this Dark Sky area. Partners: Treaty 6 Plains Cree Elder – Ekti Margaret Cardinal; Hamingja-Heritage Farm & Nature Preserve; Medicine River Wildlife Centre; Taimi Soil Projects; Rancho Relaxo Resort & Permaculture Farm

Woodcliff Healing Forest

Calgary, AB Established in 2022 The grounds of Woodcliff United Church in Calgary were designated as a Healing Forest in 2022. The Woodcliff United Church community's Journey for Common Ground began in 2019. They hosted outdoor night markets where Elder Shirley Hill danced and told stories. Orange shirt day services were held; red dresses were hung in the trees to remember MMIWG and Elder Shirley danced. A labyrinth was created and planning began for an Indigenous Medicine Wheel garden and a native plant garden designed to attract birds, bees and butterflies. On October 1, 2023, Knowledge Keeper Cheryle Chagnon Greyeyes and Chantal Stormsong Chagnon did a land acknowledgment and spoke of the significance of Orange Shirt Day/National Truth and Reconciliation. Cheryle and drummed and sang and led participants on a walk through the forest leading to the Medicine Wheel garden.

Payhonin Healing Forest

Sturgeon County, AB Established in 2023 A 20-acre boreal forest parkland in Alberta features outdoor spaces for ceremonies, reflection, meditation, and prayer. Serene walking trails, designed like the Big Dipper, weave through an inland forest on farmland. Totem poles, crafted by Respected Elder Bill Bertschy (Nephew of Chieftain George) convey the Seven Grandfather teachings in this Healing Forest. Property owner and farmer, Tam Andersen and Bertschy will be the champions of this Healing Forest.

River Valley Healing Forest

Edmonton, AB Proposed in 2017 In 2017, volunteers with Reconciliation in Solidarity Edmonton (RISE) proposed establishing a Healing Forest in Edmonton’s River Valley. Hundreds of volunteers hung over 1,000 paper hearts from trees throughout the city’s largest urban park. Each heart was marked with a message of reconciliation and provided a rich insight into Indigenous Peoples' history and the legacy of the residential school system. The City of Edmonton subsequently committed to a public consultation and funds to establish a Healing Forest.

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