Description

Breaking the Cycle ... TWHLS is a community-driven initiative raised out of concern and recognition of the urgent need to break the cycle of Indigenous women’s over-representation in Canada’s prisons. Indigenous-led, we provide trauma-informed, culturally appropriate services for First Nation (Status and Non-Status), Inuit, and Metis 2SLGBTQIA+ women exiting the justice system. The over-incarceration of Indigenous women is a national crisis. History has revealed the targeted attempts to break down Indigenous Culture and communities. First with the Residential schools, then the 60s scoop and now the over-incarceration of Indigenous women. This targeted bias has robbed children of their mothers, communities of their sisters, aunties, and elders. We believe the best way to reduce the number of Indigenous women in Canada’s jails is to create opportunities for us to thrive.

Our Mission Thunder Woman Healing Lodge Society will promote and provide services for First Nation (Status and Non-Status), Inuit, and Metis 2SLGBTQIA+ Women to focus on their journey to wholeness and balance.

Our Vision To provide First Nation (Status and Non-Status), Inuit, and Metis 2SLGBTQIA+ women a place in the Greater Toronto Area to heal and reclaim positive cultural identity, rehabilitation and wellness.

Our Mandate To establish a Healing Lodge for First Nations (Status and Non-Status), Inuit, and Metis 2SLGBTQIA+ women who are in conflict with the law, and for those who have survived intergenerational trauma. To provide cultural support, traditional knowledge and resources, for the advancement of wholeness and balance. To empower First Nations (Status and Non-Status), Inuit, and Metis 2SLGBTQIA+ Women to take their honoured place within their community and culture.

Our Name & Logo Our logo incorporates a stylized Thunderbird with a figure holding up an eagle feather in prayer. This image symbolizes both our name and the healing that can happen through Indigenous culture and traditions. Our name refers to the story and teachings of the Thunderbird, a powerful, spiritual being described in the Anishinaabe culture and known throughout Turtle Island. Thunderbirds create and control the winds, rain, thunder and lightning; they are creators, messengers, helpers and healers. There are many stories of the Thunderbird’s ability to transform and move between the spiritual and the physical world. The Eagle is another important being in the Anishinaabe world, which are capable of transforming into Thunderbirds to carry messages to Creator. Eagle feathers are symbolic of this relationship. The name THUNDERWOMAN incorporates the transformative, healing and creative spirit of the Eagle, Thunderbird and all our relations’ journeys to walk in balance.

Ontario’s first Indigenous owned and led healing lodge for Indigenous 2SLGBTQIA+ women is about become a reality. Indigenous over-representation in Canada’s jails was already a crisis, but the Covid-19 pandemic has proven just how urgently our community-based Healing Lodge and transitional housing program for First Nations (Status and Non-Status), Inuit, and Metis 2SLGBTQIA+ women leaving corrections is needed! 

Years of hard work by Indigenous community members is what has brought this project to the place it is at today. We have achieved major steps, including buying the land and securing zoning approval in 2019! Now we are refining the building design to build a cultural landmark with minimal environmental footprint and preparing for a land blessing. 

Support our fundraising campaign today to help us through these next crucial steps! We are targeting construction for late 2020 through 2021 – but every day that Indigenous women are released without adequate supports in place leaves them vulnerable to the very same forces that led to their prior conflict with the law!

Location

413 Dundas Street East, Toronto, ON, Canada

Social Networks
Closed
Open hours today: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Monday

    9:00 am - 5:00 pm

  • Tuesday

    9:00 am - 5:00 pm

  • Wednesday

    9:00 am - 5:00 pm

  • Thursday

    9:00 am - 5:00 pm

  • Friday

    9:00 am - 5:00 pm

  • Saturday

    Closed

  • Sunday

    Closed

  • July 30, 2021 6:38 am local time

Programs and Services

A Prototype Healing Model

The Lodge Project is a prototype healing lodge and affordable housing model that incorporates the best practices of the Indigenous healing lodge tradition, a community-based residential healing space, and a transitional rental housing program under one roof.

With only two other Indigenous owned and led healing lodges for women in Canada, Thunder Woman Healing Lodge will be Ontario's first healing lodge for Indigenous women and the first example of this innovative hybrid model in Canada.

Healing Lodge

The new six-story building will offer 12 beds for women leaving federal and provincial corrections or before the courts on bail, all of whom will participate in the Thunder Woman Healing program and receive wrap-around supports for rehabilitation and reintegration.

Transitional Housing

The building will also house 12 affordable transitional housing units for women that have completed the healing lodge program but require additional time and support to gain independence. A combination of bachelor, 1-bedroom, and 2-bedroom units will create flexible rental options for the women.

Family Reunification

Many Indigenous women leaving corrections are single parents without family supports and with limited connections to community. Often, mothers with children in provincial care want reunification with their children but need help in building their capacity to do so. Our transitional housing program and partner agencies will provide key supports for this important work.

Help Open New Doors

As Indigenous women, we believe the best way to reduce our over-representation in Canada's jails is to increase our opportunities to thrive.

Your support will complete our capital campaign and dream to build a one-of-a-kind healing lodge for Indigenous women in the GTA. With support from Aboriginal partners, government, and community philanthropy, we are nearly halfway toward our $14.5 Million goal. We need your support to break ground in 2021 and open Thunder Woman Healing Lodge.

Social Enterprise - Empowering Women to Walk in Balance

Indigikwe is an Indigenous women-led cultural social enterprise currently under development that will open in the Thunder Woman Healing Lodge. The retail gift shop and art gallery will feature Indigenous artists and merchandise both online for a global audience and in a physical storefront in our east Toronto neighbourhood. Annually, up to 24 Indigenous women will achieve autonomy and skills through job readiness, employment and entrepreneurship training to break the cycle of incarceration.

Reducing Recidivism

There are clear systemic links between the disproportionate levels of violence experienced by missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls and their recurring over-representation in the prison system. Truth, reconciliation, and healing will only occur when root causes are addressed and supports are provided to stop further interactions with the Canadian justice system.

Indigenous owned and operated Healing Lodges address the needs of Aboriginal women who have come in to conflict with the law. Reconnecting them with their culture, spirituality, and communities. Through a holistic program TWHLS empowers Aboriginal women exiting the corrections system or who are currently before the courts to discover a different path and take their honoured place in their community.

Restoring Identity

Indigenous women who have a strong sense of self have a better chance of success post-release, including reuniting with their children and becoming positive role models for the generations that follow.

All Services and programs including the assessments and care plans will be performed from a cultural, holistic, trauma-informed, Medicine Wheel perspective – offering the residents, a comprehensive, community based alternative to post incarceration care.

The Healing Lodge Program is an intensive, structured, daily program for all residents exiting corrections or before the courts. Grounded in the Seven Grandfather Teachings and the Medicine Wheel, the programming will focus on culture and traditions, meeting the emotional, physical, spiritual and mental aspects of the individual. Support programs will address historical traumas, life skills, and reconnection to culture – providing a platform to reclaim the rightful and dignified place in community these women deserve.

Providing Housing

Housing security has been shown to be a critical barrier for formerly incarcerated individuals to overcome. Without adequate housing and supports upon release, Indigenous women exiting corrections find themselves living in unsafe, unaffordable, and precarious housing – and vulnerable to the same forces that led to earlier conflict with the law.

Affordable transitional housing with adequate supports provides the tools necessary for individual capacity building and healing. Anchored in the evidence-informed “Housing First” approach, TWHL will provide 12 beds and wrap-around supports for women exiting corrections or before the courts. and an additional 12 affordable residential units for women who have completed the healing lodge program but need additional transitional supports to regain independence.

We believe the best way to reduce the number of Indigenous women in Canada’s jails is to create opportunities to thrive. 

Creating Opportunity

We believe the best way to reduce the number of Indigenous women in Canada’s jails is to create opportunities to thrive. 

That Stable employment – and all the benefits that stem from it – are protective factors against reoffending. It is one of the single most effective ways to reintegrate individuals into society and reduce recidivism.

Individuals released from incarceration face a host of challenges upon release, from obtaining gainful employment and stable housing to receiving services for substance abuse, physical and mental health issues — challenges that, if not overcome, are associated with costly returns to incarceration. Employment reintegration strategies are crucial to successfully build an independent life post-release

TWHL will work with Lodge residents and partner organizations to build livelihood skills that resonate with and reinforce each woman’s individual interests, strengths, and goals. Key among our activities will be Indigikwe – a work-integration social enterprise that will build a combination of employment and entrepreneurial competencies for participants.