The Bear's Den - NCSA Renews Section 81 Healing Lodge Agreement with Canada

August 10, 2018

On Friday August 3, 2018, an exchange of protocol and a traditional pipe ceremony ushered in a new era of a strengthened relationship between NCSA and Correctional Services Canada.

Native Counselling Services of Alberta CEO Dr. Allen Benson, and the Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, signed a renewed Section 81 Agreement to strengthen correctional services and reintegration support for Indigenous offenders. Both of NCSA’s Healing Lodges, the Stan Daniels Healing Centre and the Buffalo Sage Wellness House, will benefit from more stable funding and a renewed commitment to offender healing and rehabilitation. Click here to see CBC’s story on the signing

In 1988, The Stan Daniels Healing Centre was Canada’s First Correctional Facility operated by an Indigenous Organization

“I believe our focus on common ground has been the foundation of our 30 year partnership with Correctional Services Canada,” said Dr. Allen Benson at the media event on Friday, “As a result, our healing centres have excellent outcomes, low recidivism rates, and successful reintegration of hundreds of men and women into our communities.”

Minister Goodale receives a traditionally tanned buckskin jacket from NCSA as Assembly of First Nations Alberta Regional Chief Marlene Poitras looks on.

Minister Goodale says that Section 81 Healing Lodge agreements outline how Indigenous communities can help oversee correctional services to Indigenous inmates and offenders on Conditional Release.

“The Justice system must not only have the tools to hold guilty parties to account for their illegal behavior, it must foster rehabilitation so that we have, in future, fewer repeat offenders, fewer victims and ultimately safer communities”, said Minister Goodale.

Minister Goodale Tours Stan Daniels Healing Centre prior to traditional pipe ceremony

Allen Benson, Stan Daniels Director Marlene Orr (Far Right) and two Stan Daniels Residents give Minister Goodale a tour of their program room

The renewal of the Section 81 agreement impacts not only both of NCSA’s healing Lodges, the Stan Daniels Healing Centre (men) and the Buffalo Sage Wellness House (women), but also includes 5 other Indigenous healing lodges across Canada. Minister Goodale applauded the work done by all the Section 81 Healing Lodges in Canada, "You have blazed the trail. You have pointed a constructive way to the future and we look forward to following that path and building on it for the betterment of all our communities and all of our peoples.