A Cost-Benefit Analysis of Hollow Water's Community Holistic Circle Healing Process

A Cost-Benefit Analysis of Hollow Water's Community Holistic Circle Healing Process PDF Version (920 KB)


Native Counselling Services of Alberta

Lead Researcher:
Dr. Joe Couture

Research Team:
Ted Parker
Ruth Couture
Patti Laboucane

This report is made possible through a joint contribution by the Solicitor General Canada and the Aboriginal Healing Foundation.

The views expressed in this report are those of the author and are not necessarily those of the Solicitor General Canada or the Aboriginal Healing Foundation.

APC 20 CA (2001)

Aboriginal Peoples Collection

Single copies of this report may be obtained by writing to:

Aboriginal Corrections Policy Unit
Solicitor General of Canada
340 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0P8

If more than one copy is required, please feel free to photocopy any or all of this report.

Cat. No.:JS42-95/2001E
ISBN No.:0-662-30035-1

Table of contents



The Solicitor General's Aboriginal Community Corrections Initiative (ACCI) and Justice Canada's Aboriginal Justice Strategy (AJS) have both implied that improvements to justice and corrections in Aboriginal communities would result in cost savings to governments. Although a cost-benefit analysis can be undertaken, it is particularly difficult to ascertain the costs associated with community wellness strategies, and, therefore, any potential savings to policing, administrating justice and corrections.

The Hollow Water First Nation Community Holistic Circle Healing (CHCH) strategy is the most mature healing process in Canada. While integrating elements for a number of federal and provincially funded services (i.e., policing, justice, corrections, health and social services) CHCH provides a unique opportunity to explore the costs associated with its various components.

Clearly, Aboriginal culture, value-system and process differ significantly from the dominant society. In order to perform research that is ethical, careful and thorough, comparable linkages between Justice and Aboriginal criteria must be explored in different ways. The real value of CHCH work can only be identified by the community members impacted by the healing process; typically, however, the benefits of this process have not been acknowledged nor measured by the dominant society. Yet, the benefits of the CHCH activity have touched all aspects of life in Hollow Water, many of which, cannot be given a specific dollar value. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to adequately place a dollar value on the depth, quality, commitment and sustainability of the substantial healing work achieved in Hollow Water, and the impressive track record CHCH holds.

To overcome what appears to be a significant obstacle, the research team collaborated with the community to develop a common understanding of the CHCH research & healing process with community members and to express the core elements/dynamics/process of CHCH healing activity. This collaboration resulted in a clear comparison of some aspects of the CHCH process with mainstream judicial, victim and family services available in Manitoba. In addition, it provided an indication of many value-added benefits of the CHCH program, which are difficult to measure, unique and have far-reaching community healing implications.


The CHCH is process centred. Staff activities are a part of a larger flow of action that contributes to the entire healing process - a process that is based on the seven Midewin teachings of the Anishnabe people, which are the foundation for the 13 step CHCH healing process. The heart and soul of CHCH is in its spiritual core which is the fulcrum that affects change. Unlike other mainstream systems (justice, family/social services) the process holistically involves victims, victimizers and their respective families; it creates spiritual, physical, emotional and intellectual balance that benefits the entire Hollow Water community.


In light of these parameters, the research team decided that the best approach for this project was from a research paradigm that fully accommodates community in order to yield results useful to both the community and the researchers. This participatory framework was built on two basic principles.

COLLABORATION. This research project endeavoured to identify the strengths and resources within the community, facilitating Aboriginal-appropriate partnerships through all phases of the research. Details regarding the method of data collection and research were co-jointly developed through a series of staff meetings and community consultations to share expertise and knowledge. The final report is a product of this collaboration, as it was reviewed by the community at all stages of its development.

ACTION. The participatory research framework was also defined by a need for social change. When the researchers and community began the research process, they made a commitment to work towards a benefit of all the stakeholders. In this instance, the community benefited from (but not limited to) the following:

the tools and the ability to continue tracking and collecting data, which will provide ongoing information regarding the benefits of the CHCH program for their community. This data includes a holistic benchmark of their healing achievements which can easily be tracked year to year, and will form the argument for program preservation activities, (such as on-going funding and program expansion) and the development of a business plan;

an understanding of basic research procedures for holistic, qualitative evaluation. The research team also helped to identify possible community research assistants to carry on research for HW;

assisting in the development of a CHCH client library in alternative healing methods; and

holding a traditional fasting ceremony for staff and community members to facilitate further individual/community pursuit of the collective journey.

Another key dimension of this participatory process was the collaboration of researchers and community within a mutually acceptable ethicalNote 1 framework. In this particular Aboriginal community (in this instance, the staff and volunteers of the CHCH process constitutes the community) traditional protocol and values are the foundation for any activity, including research. The participatory approach enabled the research team to observe important cultural protocol in the Hollow Water First Nations community, which was essential in the development of trust relationships and an atmosphere of respect between researchers and the community.

The observation of Ojibway protocol throughout the research process included entrance, permission and relationship-building protocol. Together with the community, the research team endeavoured to develop and maintain a partnership based upon mutual traditional values of kindness/honesty/respect/sharing.


The ultimate goal of the project was to develop jointly, with CHCH and the community a summary of the value-added benefits. This required the collection of quantitative and qualitative data to provide both the community context of perceived benefits, as well as an approximate, yet accurate cost savings of the benefits. This collection included benefits not normally acknowledged by findings of non-Hollow Water people. Due to the sensitive nature of the CHCH program (community-based alternative justice service provision for the victims and perpetrators of crimes including sexual violence), it was necessary for the research team to employ research techniques that were appropriate in both an Aboriginal and an emotionally charged context.

Data is derived from a number of sources: responses to a staff-oriented questionnaire, supple¬mented by formal interviews and many informal interviews with them over a six week period. This included several conventional staff discussions, talking circles, pipe ceremonies, one-on-one healing ceremonies, as well as a climaxing four day Fire Ceremony. Sixteen items, cross-referencing each other to assure consistency of themes as they arose from interactions with staff, clients, and community people were constructed. From this part of the evaluation exercise a sense of the Community's self, what, why, and how emerged. This qualitative method was helpful in discerning both the dynamics impelling healing activity and the "criteria" and "standards" in light of which local success can be and is gauged.

Concurrent with the qualitative endeavour, a total of 50 personal interviews (one-on-one, mini-groups, telephone interviews) were conducted with community and band members, CHCH current and former staff, social resource people, educators, psychologists, RCMP and justice system participants knowledgeable of the CHCH process. These interviews had both qualitative and quantitative dimensions.

The quantitative dimension included an analysis of the data collected to compare the costs between the CHCH process and the criminal justice system. As much as possible, costs were allocated to the different services provided by the CHCH during the past ten years and then compared to the most similar service provided by the provincial and federal governments.


The data collected indicates that a total of 107 victimizers have participated in the CHCH program. While there is an estimated 400 to 500 victims that have been involved in the healing process as well, it would be more accurate to state that the entire community has benefited from the CHCH process. Victimizer crimes are primarily sexual offences, but range from break and enter to second degree murder. The staff of CHCH estimate that 60% of their time is spent in victimizer services, 30% in services to victims and families and 10% in community development.

In order to do a cost comparison between the mainstream criminal justice system and CHCH, two assumptions have to be made. First, that the average Aboriginal offender spends 60% of his/her sentence incarcerated and second, that the individuals who have participated in the process would have been found guilty and given sentences that are equal to the national average. In addition, all pre-incarceration costs are indicated to be the responsibility of the provincial government and conservatively estimated to be $19,500.00 per offender.

In addition, cost comparisons between the government, family services and the therapeutic family services CHCH provides were completed. To do this comparison, an average cost of government workers was ascertained. The community development work that is completed was seen as incomparable to any service available from either the province of Manitoba or the federal government.

The CHCH process has been formally operating for over ten years, during which the federal and provincial government have contributed a combined total of approximately $240,000Note 2 per year, or an estimated total of $2.4 million. For the same services, a conservative estimate for ten years of government run services, would be between $6,212,732 and $15,901,885. The range in amounts is accounted for by taking the actual inmate costs (low end) and the total operational costs of housing inmatesNote 3 (high end).

To put these figures in context, for every dollar the provincial government has spent on the CHCH program, it would have had to spend $3.75 for pre-incarceration costs, prison and probation costs. For every dollar the federal government has spent on the CHCH program, it would have had to spend between $2.46 to $12.15 on incarceration and parole costs. Combined, for every $2.00 the Provincial and Federal government spends, the community receives well over $6.21 to $15.90 worth of services and value-added benefits. Clearly, the governments and taxpayers are receiving value for their money.

Bear in mind, however, that these mainstream services do not have the community capacity or healing effect of CHCH healing process, nor do they include a community development component. Further, these estimates do not take into consideration costs associated with victimizer re-offending or their victims who would also require additional assistance. The data indicated that the recidivism rate for sex offenders is approximately 13% and for any form of recidivism the figure rises to approximately 36%. Given that CHCH has a very low recidivism rate, only 2 clients re-offended during the past 10 years (approximately 2%), it is appropriate to state that the value of services to both the government and community has been significantly understated.


In order to accurately present the value-added benefits of the CHCH program, it was appropriate to discuss the forces or trends impacting on the holistic health and wellness of the community and the effectiveness of the CHCH process. The most significant of these issues is acknowledged to be colonisation. Community members indicated that the historical colonisation of Aboriginal people has lead to ingrained dependant behaviour, a distrust/resistance to bureaucracies, intergenerational grief for lost culture/traditions and a fear of the dominant society. Indeed, it has been this process of cultural genocide that is accepted as the basis for individual, family and community dysfunction, as well as the process of breaking the CHCH process "into pieces", consequently blocking their receipt of adequate funding for all that is accomplished through the 13 Step process. It is worthy to note that the community of Hollow Water, which as a result of the CHCH healing process has realised significant shifts in overall health and wellness, does not have one legal action filed by a community member as a result of residential school abuse.

Additional significant issues include population trends (an increase in the number of youth and therefore youth at risk), an increased migration into the community, inadequate housing, significant substance abuse (and other health issues) and over 70% unemployment. All these issues have prompted a response by the CHCH program and community members which impacts against the manner in which services are provided.

Despite on-going conditions, the work of CHCH has affected real change in the community. The CHCH process continues to build momentum and strength. Significant changes have occurred. Community members indicated that on a scale of 0 (being the no health or wellness) to 10 (being the fullness of life) that the community was at 0 in 1984-1986. Substantial movement toward health and wellness has occurred. Most of the members in the community view themselves to have moved slightly more than halfway on the scale toward health and wellness. This perception is attributed to the work and effort of CHCH and the integration of its core values into the whole members. The CHCH program is a catalyst for the healing of intergeneration pain that has been borne by the community.

Signs of health and wellness include improved holistic health of children, more people completing their education, better parenting skills, the empowerment of community individuals, broadening of community resources, an increase in community responsibility to issues, an increased sense of safety, a return to traditional ceremony and a decrease in overall violence. From these indicators of wellness underlie the community perceptions that "things are getting better". They also clearly indicate that through prevention, community training and intervention, the CHCH program has caused a decrease in the amount and type of services the community has required from outside sources. In addition, there is every indication that these cost savings will increase exponentially into the future.



The Solicitor General's Aboriginal Community Corrections Initiative (ACCI) and Justice Canada's Aboriginal Justice Strategy (AJS) have both implied that improvements to justice and corrections in Aboriginal communities would result in cost savings to governments. Although a cost-benefit analysis can be undertaken, it is particularly difficult to ascertain the costs associated with community wellness strategies, and, therefore, any potential savings to policing, administrating justice and corrections.

The Hollow Water First Nation Community Holistic Circle Healing (CHCH) strategy is the most mature healing process in Canada.  While integrating elements for a number of federal and provincially funded services (i.e. policing, justice, corrections, health and social services) CHCH provides a unique opportunity to explore the costs associated with its various components.

There are still critics of the CHCH process both from within and outside Hollow Water. Criticisms have included that the CHCH is too victimizer (offender) oriented and that victims are, or may be coerced into participating in the healing process when they would prefer to use the Canadian justice system. Others have raised the concern that the CHCH process is based on traditional values that are not shared by everyone in the community. Some government officials have questioned continued funding to Hollow Water, at least at the current level, given their perception that the sex offender case load has dropped off.

CHCH workers and the community as a whole should seriously look at those criticisms. They should also be looked at with the following questions in mind. First, would victims and victimizers receive equitable or better treatment in the Canadian justice system? Second, is the Canadian public receiving value for the money governments spend to support the CHCH process? This report attempts to answer those questions.

The purpose of this research, therefore, is to provide a holistic cost/benefit evaluation of the Community Holistic Circle Healing (CHCH) strategy in Hollow Water First Nation.


The objectives and goals of this research were manifold:

To include the community of Hollow Water in a participatory evaluation process that is satisfactory to CHCH workers, community members and their leaders;

To design and implement a holistic research evaluation process that is relevant and meaningful to CHCH, to the band advisor and to the community;

To ascertain the direct, indirect and ancillary (value-added) holistic cost-benefits of the Hollow Water healing and wellness strategies involving victimizers, victims and their respective families; and

To present as much information as possible regarding the direct and collateral (value-added) benefits of the CHCH strategy from information obtained within the context of community perceptions of the benefits of the CHCH strategy.

Partnered with representatives from the Hollow Water First Nation Band, CHCH workers, the Aboriginal Healing Foundation and the Solicitor General's Aboriginal Corrections Policy Unit, Native Counseling Services of Alberta (NCSA) was awarded the responsibility of conducting the research. NCSA has expertise and experience in community wellness processes, in the field of program design for Aboriginal communities, as well as the economics of social/justice programs, and qualitative research data collection/analysis.


A participatory research approach was undertaken, enabling an improved research protocol. It incorporated the knowledge and expertise of CHCH, the community's Child and Family Services (CFS) workers, community members and researchers, all collaborating in the research process as equals.

"Collaboration, mutual education and acting on results are the three key elements of participatory research. Such research stresses the mutually respectful partnerships between researchers, CHCH, the Band and the community. When people form a group with a common purpose to investigate their situation and make decisions (they) are transformed - losing fear, gaining confidence, self-esteem and direction."Note 4

Participatory research maximizes community and lay involvement. It negotiates a "balance" between developing valid generalizable knowledge and benefits the community that is being researched. The partnership is mutually respectful, is based on shared responsibilities and the production of results that are satisfactory for all partners.

The research protocol was improved by incorporating the knowledge and expertise of CHCH and CFS workers, community members and researchers. All collaborate in the research as equals. The collective wisdom of the community adds a perspective that broadens interpretations, increases the project's effectiveness and improves the credibility of oral and written results which save the community from potential stigmatisationNote 5.


The notion of protocol when doing research in Aboriginal communities takes on several different meanings. The first issue of protocol concerns the manner in which research is conducted when it involves sensitive issues, such as sexual abuse.  In such a situation, the research must be approached with the utmost caution and consideration.  Victims and victimizers needed to feel safe in sharing information with the research team, and the researchers needed to be very concerned with the manner in which data was collected.  In addition, in this particular research project which has a quasi-evaluative function, an additional risk could be introduced, whereby the community could feel that it was “under the microscope” and governments could use the research to hinder future healing initiatives in the community.

For that reason, it was decided to approach Hollow Water before the research design was finalized, to seek their approval for the research to take place in the community and to seek their active participation in the design and delivery of the research. This desire to follow proper protocol formed the basis of the participatory approach the project adopted.

In order to adhere to a participatory research approach, the traditional dimension of protocol in the Aboriginal community - the process of building relationships through the respect of community ritual - needed to be acknowledged and respected. This included the protocol surrounding the entrance into Hollow Water, which allowed the meeting to take place. Second was the protocol surrounding permission to undertake research in the community. Finally, there was the protocol surrounding “relationship” that would not only bind both parties to undertake the research, but also the knowledge taken from the community and the opportunities, information & expertise that would be left there.


1. Initial meeting: traditional protocol established; research proposal discussed

Working within the concepts of traditional protocol and participatory research, an initial meeting was held in Hollow Water between the Department of the Solicitor General, Native Counseling Services of Alberta (NCSA), the Band Council portfolio advisor for CHCH, the previous leader of CHCH and current staff of CHCH and CFS.

Line by line discussion of the NCSA proposal regarding evaluation of the CHCH process was pursued; protocol issues were clarified as needed by CHCH or as requested by the research team. Discussion also focused around working together, giving the community a voice in the research and leaving something in the community in return for their participation. By mid-afternoon there was consensus from all parties to proceed with the research.

2. Fieldwork

Conducting research within the Hollow Water community required five and one-half weeks of fieldwork. This time frame is not unusual, and was necessary in order to obtain the fullness of required information, and to ensure a respectful, successful and participatory relationship between the researchers, CHCH/CFS workers, band council, Elders, and the community at large.

It was also necessary to adapt to the rhythm of the community, and to respect CHCH's heavy work schedules. Tolerance for unpredictable community or personal developments or emergencies becomes a planning necessity. For example, when a respected Elder in the community died, workers participated in 24-hour on-going support for the family. All offices were closed for a few days, causing a one week interviewing and re-scheduling delay. A crisis intervention also occurred during fieldwork necessitating re-scheduling of interviews.

3. The Opening Circles: Sharing in the Decision-Making

...building relationships

Conducted in a participatory, protocol-initiated way, the research began with four days of circles with both CHCH and CFS workers. These free flowing discussions were aimed at developing trust, understanding worker needs, interests, sensitivities, cultural and community issues, as well as issues surrounding CHCH work. Weaknesses and strengths of previous evaluation studies were also discussed as they voluntarily arose. Understanding past procedures that "worked" and "didn't work" in the community helped define the current research process, as did surfacing issues such as interviewing fatigue or saturation experienced by CHCH workers (who are usually in demand from various people studying and researching them). The early circle work with the team also reinforced agreement of CHCH's ownership of the research, as well as the report that would follow.

…planning procedures: purpose and scope; roles and responsibilities

The reasons for the holistic cost/benefit evaluation, the research scope it entails and the expected benefits for Hollow Water were explained and discussed, as were the roles and responsibilities of CHCH staff working in partnership with the researchers. Protocol for the interviews was established. Through group consensus, it was determined that the best way to obtain interviews would be on a one-to-one basis or in mini-circles. Taping of the interviews was only done when permission was given. Derived from informal conversations with staff, and rounds of circles, a research design (known as the "work paper" - see Appendix B) was put into place. CHCH workers freely advised and generated an appropriate list of people to be interviewed. They also assisted in distributing some of the questionnaires in order to obtain a broader community sample.

The research design was divided into three sections: hard-data (or budget and cost-related/ dollar value information generated by an economist), qualitative data which addressed the community, collateral or value-added benefits of CHCH work, and a culturally-sensitive overview which integrated or fused the results of the research project.

4. Information-Gathering Process

Qualitative data - collateral or value-added benefits

Information to be obtained centered on the changes or shifts that had occurred over the fourteen year period of CHCH's existence in the community, its perceived value to the community and to the justice system; observations of community culture, healing, stories, anecdotal information. Open-ended written interviews were designed and directed to the community and to the community's assessment team (called the A-Team), who cross-checked information obtained through circle discussions.

The interview model followed an evolutionary approach designed to build on initial generated commentary, and to obtain a truer picture of the community in terms of health and wellness benefits. In a small community, commentary from a cross-section of the people is a clear indicator of the commonalties or root values which exist, as well as the differences which surface related to age, beliefs, interests, values, and ways of thinking/feeling- from physical, emotional, mental and spiritual perspectives.

Two types of written questionnaires were developed. The first questionnaire, developed for staff, involved sixteen items, cross-referencing each other to assure consistency of themes as they arose from interactions with staff, clients and community people. From this part of the evaluation exercise a sense of the community's self and essence, emerges. This qualitative method has been helpful in discerning both the dynamics, underlying healing activity and the criteria and standards by which local success can be and is gauged.

The staff-oriented questionnaire was supplemented by formal and very frequent informal interviews with staff throughout the fieldwork process. This included several conventional staff discussions, several talking circles, pipe ceremonies, one-on-one healing ceremonies, as well as a climaxing four-day Fire Ceremony.

Evidence of defining characteristics was also drawn from previous evaluation reports and concept papers. In addition, the research team found valuable information in current staff verbal and written responses which described the spiritual/philosophical and practical requirements of Hollow Water's traditionally-driven commitment and approach to human trauma.

Another questionnaire was aimed at community leaders, CHCH workers and the community at large. Its design was deliberately simple - a one page questionnaire containing three, 10 point rating scales to obtain the perceived "shifts" or "changes" in the state of health and wellness of the community over the past 14 years, since the first disclosure in 1986. Three open-ended questions were included to obtain the rationale behind these ratings and to specifically determine the value or benefits of CHCH perceived by the community (a sample of the questionnaire is included in the work plan which follows this section). The questionnaire was used to stimulate and generate freer, more open and spontaneous discussion.

Quantitative data: hard data-fact finding

The quantitative dimension of the research project was based on data gathered from four sources:

  1. Researcher field work, which provided: A case compilation (drawn from CHCH victimizer files) of:
    • victimizers diverted to the CHCH process;
    • patterns of disclosure from 1987 - 2000;
    • recidivism validation through the Correctional Service of Canada's Offender Management System (OMS);
    • age breakdown;
    • total number of victimizers charged; victimizer crimes; and
    • typical incarceration times for those crimes.
    A time/value analysis of one typical offender going through the 13 step process.
  2. Government and other publications;
  3. CHCH and Hollow Water Band records; and
  4. Telephone interviews with government and CHCH officials.

To ensure accuracy, published information was cross-checked with informed individuals. In particular, people (CHCH staff, police, supervisors, prosecutors etc.) who were familiar with the Hollow Water CHCH process and Aboriginal treatment within the justice system were contacted to ensure the information was applicable to CHCH.

It is important to recognize that the two systems (CHCH and the Canadian justice system) are quite different; a fact that complicates their comparison significantly. For example, the justice system deals with the victimizer for a set period of time and then releases the person back into the community. Basically, there is a set time penalty for committing a serious criminal offence. CHCH, on the other hand, treats the victimizer victim and families, as well as the community seeking wellness for all. Unlike the justice system, treatment is seen as a life long healing process rather than a term of incarceration or parole. CHCH also treats male, female and young offender victimizers with one team whereas in the justice system each would be treated in a separate system.

The difficulty of comparing two different processes was overcome by using the annual costs of operating the CHCH process (available from the band financial statements) and information on clients (victimizer lists) to detail the expenditures within CHCH. Comparable costs in the justice system were calculated by determining the cost of processing an offender through the various steps involved in the legal system (arrest, remand, transport, court etc.). To this, was added a typical term of incarceration (if applicable) for each victimizer in the CHCH program based on the crime for which they were convicted.

The "Typical Offender" cost - defining the 13 step strategy

Although the 13 step process has been frequently reported in many articles throughout the history of CHCH, the process, as CHCH members go through the actual steps, has not been reported in the context of a time/benefit analysis as compared with (to the extent that it can be) the incarceration of one inmate through the prison system. This section attempts to show the comparable roles CHCH workers play, as well as identifying time and costs.

The research design included a step by step explanation of the time, costs and benefits of using the13 step process in its information gathering. The results of one offender were then multiplied by the number of offenders as reported in statistics from Hollow Water. The low recidivism rate for the number of offenders sentenced to the CHCH process was then validated through the Correctional Service of Canada's computerized Offender Management System (OMS).

Note: Re-offense would only show up if committed and convicted of federal offense.

Confirming the Research Design

Based on the culmination of early circles and one-on-one discussions with the staff, a work paper was prepared that served as a framework for the research design to be used. It was presented to and discussed with the staff to ensure a deeper understanding of the research to be undertaken, determine its acceptability and to refine and add to any aspects of the plan suggested by CHCH in order strengthen it.


A total of 50 verbal and written interviews were obtained from a cross-section of the community as listed in the work paper that follows. 20% of the interviews included Manigotagan and Seymourville residents, but the majority of interviews centered in Hollow Water in order to obtain a stronger focus and to obtain substantive information for this project. A range of ages and positions in the community were obtained. The demographic profile of Hollow Water skews younger. 50.7% of the population is under 20. For this project, the interviews primarily ranged in age from 24-56. Interviews among the older population included six male and female Elders, and a retired couple who came back to the community to live. Observation and informal conversation techniques were utilized with younger children, pre-teens and teens through interaction with the community, rather than through formal interviews. Victimizers and victims were not specifically singled out to be interviewed. However, because of the nature of CHCH work and because early reports cited 35% of the population were victimizers and close to 75% had been victimized, including CHCH staff, a sampling of victims and victimizers were obtained. No effort was made to probe personal history. Comments were shared openly at the discretion of the person being interviewed and the level of trust he/she felt and chose to share.

The State of Health in Hollow Water First Nation report was also used as a reference point to corroborate primary data obtained for this project. The survey data reports the state of health and health care in 1993, with secondary references dated in 1998. Secondary data was obtained through Manitoba Health, EastMan Regional Health Authority and Health Canada's Medical Services Branch and Planning Unit from data collected through a community needs assessment, a key agent survey and anecdotal evidence from community members.

CFS and CHCH staff, Berma Bushie and Marcel Hardisty shared in repeated discussions with the researchers as the interviewing process evolved. All worked from the heart in an attempt to clarify points which surfaced through the interviews, provide understanding of community issues, the current position of Hollow Water, the direction being taken, the plans, hopes, and collective visions of the People as they progress toward living in a community in balance, a community committed to health and wellness.



One day Wesahketchahk was walking along a path when he looked up and saw a flock of geese flying in a V formation. “Those silly geese” thought Wesahketchahk. “Don't they know it would be better for them to select one goose to be their leader and have everyone else follow behind him. I had better call a meeting.”

Wesahketchahk called the geese together and asked the assembled geese, “Who is your leader”? The geese looked at each other for some time and finally one goose stepped forward and said “We do not have one leader. Each of us is a leader, each in our own way”.

“You silly geese” said Wesahketchahk. “Don't you know it would be better to select one goose to be your leader and have the others follow behind him in a straight line. Then you would certainly get to where you have to go”. The geese listened to Wesahketchahk and then spoke among themselves for some time. Finally, they agreed to think about what Wesahketchahk had told them.

The next day, Wesahketchahk was walking down that same path when he looked up and saw that the geese had taken his advice. They had chosen one goose to be their leader and the rest were following behind him in single file. Wesahketchahk smiled and continued his journey.

Wesahketchahk wasn't the only person to see the geese. Flying high above the geese was an eagle. As he looked down on the geese, he thought “Those silly geese. My family will eat well tonight”. The eagle soared down from high above the geese and snatched the goose that was last in line. The other geese in front did not see that the eagle had taken their brother and continued to fly in a straight line. The eagle returned, and once again took the goose that was last in line. Again, the geese did not notice that the eagle had taken their brother. The eagle kept returning until there was only one goose left, the one who had been selected as leader. The eagle finally came back for him, and the geese had no more problems with leadership.Note 6

Whether as a benign consultant or a calculating trickster, Wesahketchahk succeeded in destroying the geese by breaking up their traditional way of living together and coercing them to accept a foreign way of life.

The Anishnabe (Ojibwa) community of Hollow Water refers to its relationship with "outside society" in a similar fashion – one where others do not understand their ways and have told them how they have to do things. They have tried this other way and have found that it does not work well for them. As a result, the community characterizes its relationship with the outside world as a relationship which is “breaking us up in pieces". This telling phrase describes an acute dilemma with far reaching implications for the people of Hollow WaterNote 7.

Their history is an experience stemming directly from past and present, where encounters between two cultures are both unsettling and uprooting. Each encounter between the Anishnabe people of Hollow Water and outside society is perceived as coming from radically different directions on a range of values, attitudes, ways, customs, and language. This community has found itself in a dependant relationship with the rest of society - a relationship where Hollow Water's needs are subordinate to those of society-at-large.

The effects of cultural confrontation and colonization mark the collective memory of Hollow Water. The community's awareness is of being bereft of and needy as a result of choices forced upon it. People in the community remember anxiety and humiliation. They know the community has had to yield to professionalized, predetermined services that outsiders have developed to meet Indian needs, through social welfare, education, economic and political development which, in the minds of governments, raise Indian community standards.

Hollow Water understands that this attempt to make them adapt to Western thought and action belies a radical failure to perceive the People's sense of what is basic human unity. That is, the connection between individual, family, community, and Cosmos. The extent of long-term detrimental effects because of insensitivity to that connection between family and community life, and the affronting momentous relationship that continues to the present, is the process of "breaking us to pieces".

The good news is that the story of the Community Holistic Circle Healing process (CHCH) is essentially an intentional, countering response that directly addresses and provides a resolution to this traumatic dilemma of having others “break them into pieces”Note 8. CHCH, a progeny of the original Wanipigow Resource Team, serves the needs of the four communities of the area, sometimes referred to as MASH (Manigotagan, Ahbaming, Seymourville, and Hollow Water First Nation, where the program is based). These communities are located approximately 150 miles northeast of Winnipeg, Manitoba. These four communities constitute what is commonly referred to as "Hollow Water".

There are still criticisms from community members and outside sources about the healing process. However, in the minds of MASH members, CHCH stands clearly as a presence in the community that is good and desired. There is also strong public acknowledgment of the strenuous, extraordinary work it has accomplished over 15 years. As several people have noted, "things would be worse without it, especially now with the increasing number of youth accessing drugs".


There is clear evidence of inherent process in the wide range of multi interventions undertaken by staff in the lives of sexually abused clients, notably victimizers, victims, and their respective families. A detailed description of the work done by CHCH staff is found in Chapter Six. Equally revealing of this process are staff activities in the community on behalf of the community, and community interactions with "outside" agencies and professionals. As one observer notes:

"In Ojibwa cultural tradition, becoming more whole is connected with becoming more fully integrated in your community. It follows then, that precepts which reflect essential aspects of how community is defined form the underpinnings of the healing way." (Sivell Ferri, p.33)

In pointing to several features and dimensions of Hollow Water's healing journey, this report focuses on both what is regarded by many in the community as the benefits of change, experienced and understood as an ongoing evolutionary process (a sustained upward cyclical movement toward health of the individual-in-family-in-community), together with the downside of the enduring cycle of contact.


The Hollow Water work experience may be likened to a seamless garment that, while uneven in texture, always remains one piece. This metaphor is deliberately chosen to signal a fundamental, keystone staff/family/community vision of purpose. It affirms that everything experienced is interdependent and interacting, particularly the interwoven threads of professional, public and private lives. In other words, an obviously thoughtful, spiritual sense of community surrounds and pervades the work being done. It also speaks to a drama of violence, especially sexual abuse, together with the consequences of excessive substance usage. These are perceived as inseparable , and are addressed by CHCH accordingly.

Acting on their inherent judgment, based on a deep sense of being/becoming, gives members of the communities the necessary skills to address the full spectrum of violence, including sexual trauma, using a healing approach. This last dimension, together with its grounding in and shaping by tradition, compared to western therapeutic experience, is unmatched (notwithstanding overlap of some techniques).

This deep sense of being/becoming emerges from, and is nourished by, the Objibwe Seven Sacred Teachings. These teachings bear on all that is believed to be necessary to attain P'mad'ziwin (Living the Good Life) and is expressed as W'daeb awaewe (The Truth as we know it)Note 9 by the community.

This vision of attaining P'mad'ziwin and W'daeb-awaewe is the community's guiding core energy, or principle. Acting upon this vision for over 15 years has led them to develop expertise. They now regard themselves as skilled when it comes to disclosing sexual offenses, and they recognize that they have become responsible and accountable in the face of violent sexual offenders. As community members say, "we are now the experts…The Steps continue to guide our healing work". (A descriptive outline of the 13 Steps that guide Hollow Water's healing process is found in Appendix A.)

Evidence of this working vision is found in many staff comments.  These comments are intertwined with other factors, including:

These basic qualities are also conveyed in CHCH's structure, as well as the skills and attitudes of its workers.

Local socio-political infrastructures in the communities are dominated by provincial and federal legislation, and by policies and regulations, (such as the Indian Act Band Council, Child & Family Services, police, courts, parole, probation, and health agencies). These strongly affect the People as they are, who are formed by their history and language, together with their abiding sense of customs and ways, values and attitudes. In this context CHCH strives to correct, realign, express, restore, strengthen and utilize it all through simple, wholesome faithfulness to the requirements of healing.

An example of the restorative dynamic is found in staff attitude and response to CHCH authority. As elsewhere in bush communities, leadership emerges and is recognized in direct response to the qualities and demonstrated abilities of a person. As a result, authority is horizontal, or flattened, and is relatively far less hierarchical than outside institutions. Allied with this tendency is a deeply internalized sense of responsibility and accountability. One also observes a conscious preference for, and ease with, consensus decision-¬making and for discussion and sharing in a circle setting.

A third aspect, stemming from striving to live according to Anishnabe worldview, is reflected in the obvious flexibility of the workers. Observations from all quarters consistently underscore how staff are able to deal with a full range of situations which can, and do, arise at any time around the clock. As a junior CFS worker declares,

"All of the CHCH workers take their jobs seriously. Actually, they treat it not like a job, but rather like something that they were born to do. They (CHCH) are counselors, caregivers, friends, a shoulder to cry on and a listening ear. There are too many things to list. They bring a great balance to all the crap that our people have experienced throughout their lives. Not everyone is pro CHCH, but I have found that more and more people are turning to them for advice and help."

The following axioms and buzz-words that are used by staff further illustrate the attitude and stance of Hollow Water workers:

Residential school experience requires special mention. Staff members perceive the effects of residential school experiences as one aspect of colonization, like those of foster home placements. In Hollow Water, residential school experiences are estimated to be minimal compared with other communities. Nonetheless, residential school experiences are recognized and tracked because of their intergenerational impacts on clients and community. It is important to note that, to date, no Hollow Water band members are pursuing action through the courts as a means of resolving their issues. Rather, they are finding resolution through the work that CHCH is undertaking.


For community members, elementary understanding is that the circle is something more than a metaphor of choice. Rather, it is a natural and powerful way of thinking about the universe and healing. By its very nature, the circle generates a power that comes from the balance it creates with those sitting around it. Individuals give to, and take from, that power to address their own needs and those others in the circle. Time ceases to have any meaning and physical, amotional and spiritual space expands towards infinity.

One can easily observe that the circle characterizes staff as in relation to who they are and what they do. As a multi leveled notion, circle comes from life itself and is expressed through the techniques that the community uses for problem solving and decision making. "They brainstorm everything" is a frequent staff observation. All successful healing work is unhesitatingly attributed to using the circle. Because of the circle, healing is repeatedly emphasized,

"...the People are now beginning to understand, and we can now share ... CHCH is the People, is the Circle..."

In the Anishnabe worldview, all interactions are circles. Everything is a circle, including one on one counseling. A circle is an absorbing process that encompasses, forms and shapes its participants. This process bears on, supports, and drives all activities within and between staff, individually between staff and clients, with respective families and with the community. From the therapeutic to the socio cultural, political, economic and the spiritual, the circle always respects the uniqueness of need, and the trust of the individual's capacity to determine his/her own healing, and to proceed at his/her own speed.

Beliefs expressed regarding conditions for "doing circle", and the perceived effectiveness of the circle, include:

In addition to revealing a value rooted attitude, the circle is at the same time literally the vehicle by which healing and empowerment in all areas at all levels of community, family and individual suffering and difficulty are expressed. Because it is the ground and environment within and from which to address complex issues, in their myriad overlaps and interdependencies, the circle process has startled and irritated more than one observer.

The difficulty with circles that some observers express is attributed by staff and other analysts to dominant society's inability to see and understand what they (CHCH) are doing, to discern how core healing principles are actualized and thus why CHCH ultimately is successful. Once again, the circle is not only a point of departure and point of return, because life is like that, but the circle is also the conveyor for healing energies into all intervention related activities. In other words, while local people widely recognize that this fundamental hands-on positioning and its consequences is an inclusive defining process, it tends to be consistently misperceived and therefore discounted by the outside. As noted earlier, this insensitivity fails to see connections, to see mutual responsiveness as essence.


Success of the circle relates to several conditions. One condition is the central understanding of the benefits of silence and an obvious, wholesome respect of individual silence. Traditional Hollow Water experience shows how in silence the real truth, the true feeling regarding the issues that need to be addressed, can come out.

It is also acknowledged that silence can express avoidance of disclosure, or possibly a time of confusion, of feeling directionless, or of simply struggling to find words to get it out.

A second condition related to silence is the development of awareness. Staff members know that,

"Even though we sit in silence the energies are at work. The individual by the fact of being at the circle, has come to work."

Staff members know as well that ultimately silence eases the pain of disclosing. Nonetheless, at the outset of a circle session, the person is informed that eventually he/she must share because the circle is for them. Silence is experienced as necessary to staff for reflection, for tuning into their thoughts and feelings as they move into circle activity.


Community Elders and workers concede that, since the 1980s, locating Elders with knowledge and skills is a standing need. A number of local Elders are perceived as uncomfortable with their minimal involvement with CHCH. However, efforts are currently underway to draw in all of the community's older members. The intent is to do this with deep forgiveness, circumspection and sensitivity to each in his/her life history. For example, honoring ceremonies are being planned for the coming summer season for all of the community's seniors.

The relative dearth of powerful or medicine Elders is a situation that is showing signs of improving. That the gap is closing, and is becoming evident in the confidence being expressed towards younger members who, in apprenticeship for some time now, are exhibiting expanding ceremonial skills. Accessibility to a greater range of different ceremonies is consequently increasing.

The Hollow Water healing process continues to draw in traditional people from other communities and regions for teachings and ceremonies. Unavoidably, this has made for a slow learning process at the individual level. Nonetheless, this process has been sustained and is deepening, expanding and has nourished a healing success that is generally acclaimed as remarkable.

Generally, the CHCH experience with professional therapists has not been satisfying. It is not surprising that many staff do not believe that such a presence is necessary. Some staff, however, believe that an on call or stand by therapist would be an asset, especially for some traumatized cases that exhibit persistent denial, suicidal tendencies, or self mutilation. Despite this, staff members also recognize that increased numbers of skilled Aboriginal healers from the community will continue to diminish the need for outside expertise.


At the present time, CHCH workers feel some sense of being overwhelmed by the many ramifications that seem to be related to community issues. However, what workers believe they do (and are observed as doing) is another way of underscoring staff skills, consistency, and the strength of staff behaviors in relation to the healing process. Tasks are interwoven with the community's vision and are expressed as such, including:

Unsurprisingly, accomplishing the many tasks taken on by workers creates long-term tension, a stress arising from the attempt to establish and maintain a balance between responsibilities to one's nuclear family and responsibilities to clients, their families, and ultimately to the community. In the view of staff this has several effects.

First, staff members believe they must (and do) learn all the time from these situations, as well as through training in both Objibwe and conventional healing approaches. Second, authenticity in one's personal and public life is essential. Third, personal healing is held as foundational, extensive and inclusive, a requirement implied by the Objibwe word for themselves, not as staff or worker, but as "people who are trying to help." Fourth, their commitment is seen as the way to give a better life to their children and their children's children. In the words of a staff member:

"to the seventh generation so that they may be well and happy. So that they hear the messages that sexual abuse is destructive, hurtful, and is a cycle that has come to a halt. Freed up from the impacts of colonization."

Fifth, they recognize the need to pay full attention to communication. For example, plans are underway to intensify community oriented programs with an emphasis on the needs of youth and children (such as FAS/FAE issues and chemical dependencies), to regularize the holding of community circles, to honor Elders more inclusively and to enrich and expand their training programs.

Finally, staff members recognize that community development is crucial. Because of staff shortages and, because of the priority given to disclosure related tasks, service delivery to the community as-a-whole tends to recede in relative operational importance along with developing relationships with agencies and professionals.

When workers were asked what improvements should be undertaken, and what additional skills they know they need to perform their responsibilities, responses included:

Requests for further training recognize the need to be updated on changes in legislation and outside policies. Personal growth and training in several therapeutic approaches (focus therapy, synergy therapy, critical incident stress debriefing, crisis intervention, addictions, and counseling) were also seen as priorities. Many refer to individual skills in the traditional manner as gifts. For example, staff members recognize that "X is great in court; Y is wonderful with children and Z excels in probation-related work”.

When staff attempt to describe what kind of worker they are, virtually all see themselves as multi task oriented. They are often required to shift back and forth between being an administrator, social worker, probation officer, court worker, lawyer's assistant, counselor, facilitator, group leader and crisis intervener. There is an observable readiness of individual staff to learn, and there is a sense of comfort with the demands of all aspects of the job, notwithstanding restrictions due to grossly insufficient operational monies and a shortage of staff.

The following were identified as consistent, challenging tasks:

Staff all stress that intervention work is emotionally and mentally very demanding. All workers readily admit that at times they become extremely tired, but they also proudly point out that, to date, no one in the history of CHCH has burned out.


There are clear and positive results arising from the determination to examine the needs of clients and to deal with the impacts this work has on staff. Worded differently, healing manifests itself in several ways:

Evidence of awareness of healing and change in the community is signalled by positive changes such as,

A more thorough description of the changes that have taken place in Hollow Water can be found in the following chapter.


As a group, CHCH staff commands respect. They display skill and compelling insight in meeting Anishnabe requirements. While sustaining their own healing process, staff successfully and consistently demonstrate the ability to involve clients through activities harmonious with their spiritual vision. Accordingly, they have been able to negotiate well with outside agencies and resources. This led to an involvement in all aspects of the justice system, forging a process of a community justice system, which is emerging without compromise of spiritual principle. Staff members know that maintenance of a win-win relationship requires demanding, constant attention.

Hollow Water protocol, Hollow Water efficiency and effectiveness are masked by a laid back, soft spoken, good humoured style of relating. This tends to mask both priorities and capacity to move quickly on immediate needs, on impacts in families and across the community. Staff members relate with unwavering patience, coming from a position of kindness (sometimes in situations of conflict of interest), always envisioning and addressing past and present decolonizing dynamics, within and outside the community.

Their training has been predominantly obtained on the job through their livesNote 10. This has led to a unique proficiency without arrogance or presumption. Rather, there is openness to more training, both traditional and mainstream.

The story of Hollow Water is a living commentary on how a community can redefine and reframe service concepts as a form of resistance to oppression. This experience offers a realistic option to contemporary approaches that fail to account for the healing work underway.

Regarding the Hollow Water experience, the Canadian psychologist and internationally-recognized authority on sex offender treatment, William Marshall, concludes,

"The real advantage of the Hollow Water program is that it is holistic in the sense of integrating treatment of the offender and the victim, their families, and the whole community... most non Aboriginal people are hostile to the reintegration of sexual offenders... non Aboriginal people can learn from Aboriginal approaches rather than our traditional strategy of attempting to foist our ways on other people….

If we have learned anything from the errors of our past, it ought to be that Aboriginal peoples should have control over their own destiny and over their own problems. Indeed, we should have the good sense to learn from Aboriginal ways. Certainly their way of dealing with offenders of all types could teach us as much as we are likely to teach them."Note 11

Blanchard, a noted psychologist also underscores the Hollow Water attitude and approach by referring to its method as "revolutionary". He also states,

"While our psychologically defined culture may find psychopathy in a violent sex criminal and sentence that individual to life in prison, or even to death, Aboriginal healers believe such serious "disorders" are symptomatic of a serious rift in one's relationship to his/her fellow band members."Note 12

Rupert Ross, an Ontario Crown Attorney and author of several books on Aboriginal thought and healing uses the phrase "dueling paradigms" to explain the conflicting world view of Aboriginal healers and western justice workers.Note 13 This phrase, together with Hollow Water's "they break us up in pieces", capture the vital context within which Hollow Water is situated. As Rupert Ross states, Hollow Water practices "Sacred Justice".

It is the circle that opens the door to the Creator (spirit or core) and to the victimizer, victim and respective families. The safety of the circle enables each person to openly deal with his/her innermost feelings and issues. It is clear to CHCH workers that it is the Creator, not they, who does the healing.

“The story of Hollow Water is a community who is struggling to take back the power to help their people; they are doing this through cooperation, sharing of self and reverence for life. Using their knowledge of sacred teachings, they have found a manner of being that successfully realigns the individual inside the family, which is inside the community, which is a part of the universe/cosmos.”

Running through the discussions with community members and reviewing the myriad reports and commentaries from those who have borne witness to the Community Holistic Circle Healing process since its inception, a common belief persists: the work in Hollow Water is nothing short of miraculous.

There are many in the justice system who view CHCH as the flagship or pinnacle in alternative justice community healing at this time. Other Aboriginal communities pattern their models after the Hollow Water process. University students, psychologists, criminologists, probation officers and government officials continually request presentations, information and support for treatment possibilities. The steady stream of requests continues to increase year after year.

One staunch proponent of CHCH, The Honorable Associate Justice Murray Sinclair, speaks to the contributions made by Community Holistic Circle Healing in ways that marks the millennium of their achievements. In Justice Sinclair's words, Hollow Water plays a very important leadership role in establishing principles and benchmarks that solidify the relationship between justice and Aboriginal communities:

“(CHCH) has certainly enhanced the relationship between the community and the justice system, and in particular, the provincial court which is one of the main contacts with the justice system, along with the RCMP probation services and the crown attorney's office. The relationship has historically not been good and all the reports point to the deteriorating relationship between Aboriginal communities and court since 1991. But in Hollow Water, it's different. The relationship has grown stronger. The court has recognized the excellent work of the Community Holistic Circle Healing program as well as the commitment of the people of Hollow Water toward resolving crime and addressing it in the way that's not only appropriate to their cultural needs, but is also in keeping with the principles that the justice system itself is now adopting and adapting to”.Note 14

His comments further point to the empowerment of CHCH, and the effect it has had, not only on their community, but also on the justice system and other Aboriginal communities.

Justice Sinclair firmly believes that Hollow Water will meet the challenges of transitional change as the justice system pursues restorative justice:

“Significant concerns over the costs of justice are permeating the discussion of administration of justice in Canada, not just in Manitoba. Alternatives to the use of the court system is the big area where a lot of development and a lot of controversy will occur, especially around restorative justice and the issue of victim rights. Whether or not we ever develop an approach to justice that is fully restorative justice or we simply fine tune or manipulate some of the existing processes so that we take greater account of community initiative and local victims remains to be seen. I'm not convinced yet that the justice system is mature enough to take on that kind of leadership role in society. But having said that, within the justice system there are some who will lead...and Hollow Water will be among them.”

In still other ways, an endless stream of supporters pay tribute to an icon with whom Aboriginal peoples identify:

"Aboriginal people are looking for heroes -- something or someone to show that they have done them proud, so the world at large will see that they, too, have the best...the small community of Hollow Water has become one such icon for Aboriginal people.... While others are moving toward healing, Hollow Water is seen by many, including the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, as succeeding."Note 15

Their work presents the best of all possible options. It is an Aboriginal solution to Aboriginal problems by Aboriginal peoples;

"When the average person is faced with the knowledge that a sexually abusive act has taken place in the family, they are faced with three very human choices in resolving the issue. We're not speaking of what their legal choice is under the law, but rather what they are inclined to do as caring, and often very frightened and confused persons….If they are lucky enough to reside in a village like Hollow Water in Manitoba, that has gained some control over its community programs and social services, and that has organized a system for dealing with sexual abuse, and has community support, this is the best of all three possible options, with the highest probability of resolving the issue in a way that benefits all concerned over an extended period of time. A native solution to native problems by native peoples"Note 16

The Hollow Water healing process is seen by many as powerful, pure, real and coming from the heart. It is restorative justice at its finest:

"The work they are doing is powerful. I'll do whatever I can to help them. I strongly believe in the initiative, the protocol and the whole system. I believe in it very much. Their work is pure. It's real. It comes from the heart, and it's different from what I deal with every day in court. It's a big world out there with a lot of legal technicalities. Legal jargon is used day in and day out. You get the feeling sometimes that it's not real. I'm familiar with a lot of the cases at Hollow Water, and I've dealt with people that I've seen turn their lives around. One actually helps the assessment team with some form of counseling and he's providing restitution to the community. Another that I'll never forget was a victim... terrible, terrible sexual abuse by her parents. I met her years later, and she was a bubbly, articulate, smiling young woman. She said, 'yes, I'm _____ and although things aren't 100% they're a lot better with my parents now'. I walked away feeling like a million bucks, after seeing this girl who, years ago, was shy and withdrawn, broken up, and just about crumbling into pieces, and seeing her now.

It's all due to those very special people whose healing work is impressive. Restorative justice at its finest. Everyone should have the opportunity of sitting in a sentencing circle. It's an experience you can't put into words."Note 17

The comments cited above are impressive. The track record speaks for itself:

"The unique program is remarkably successful. Only two sexual offenders have re-offended in a nine-year period.... It is quite special to see what is happening in Hollow Water."Note 18

An impressive low recidivism rate remains unmatched in the justice system. Of the 107 offenders processed through CHCH to date and the 91 who have been charged, only two have recidivated since first disclosure in 1987.Note 19

Many have reported the successful results that CHCH has achieved. Its true uniqueness, the main reason for its success and the real point of difference, lives in its spiritual core - the heart and soul of CHCH work. Those who have been touched by its spiritual power or witnessed sentencing circles use words like "reverence" or " a religious experience" in describing their experiences.

And as Berma Bushie has said,

"The spirit piece is at the very core. It has to be in place to bring people back to balance. The whole field of psychology and psychiatry has developed its own language to determine who has a disorder, and how to get people well. We don't have the same concepts or definitions. Ours is holistic. We don't label people. We understand that the decisions that we make today will affect our people for several generations, and we use a traditional holistic approach to human living problems. We want our people in our community because it's our heart and soul. Without the spiritual, balance will not be achieved, nor healing attained".

When CHCH workers enter the circle with clients, there are no set of rules, nothing that needs to be achieved, except to get to the spiritual core of one's being. The circle enables:

The second unique feature that separates the work of CHCH, from the judicial system, is that the entire family works to heal itself. It is holistic healing in the truest sense of the word. In turn, victimizers, victims, respective families become the spiritual web that weaves, grows and holds the community together. It is the prevention piece in the healing process. It is the holistic replacement for what the justice system refers to as enforcement. It is the community working together to heal each other. Victimizers not only give back to the community, they become spiritually deepened from their efforts and give back to the community in a myriad of ways.

Centering on these beliefs and values may also be the reason why CHCH workers do not burn out, despite their monumental workload. They leave everything behind (release it) in the circle. As situations arise daily, they work with/heal each other, utilizing the principles of the circle.

The traditional laws from which CHCH works create spiritual, emotional, physical and intellectual balance. The spiritual is clearly the fulcrum from which change, healing and empowerment occur. It is occurring in Hollow Water. A nucleus of health and wellness does exist, restoration from colonization is occurring and the return to the teachings is happening. The chart on the next page is self-explanatory. Through collectivity and connectivity, the community circle gets stronger. It is critical that the healed nucleus be protected, strengthened and supported in order for it to continue to expand.

Image Description

The diagram above shows 4 rings of a circle that has Healed as its Nucleus and 3 outer rings of the circle depicting different levels of healing. The premise being that the closer you move towards the centre, the more deeply we heal. Running through the centre of the circle, from top to bottom is a line that has two arrow heads meeting in the top outer ring. The circle is cut into quarter sections that represent the interconnection of all life, the various cycles of nature, and how life represents a circular journey as characterized by the four directions North/Physical, South/Emotional, East/Spiritual and West/Mental. Running diagonally through the circle from low on the left to high on the right is a broken line. On the lower left is Restoration, Healing the Spiritual/Emotional break since contact and on the upper right is Return to the Teachings. Between N and E is Denial and Healing needed which is underlined and the tip of that line only reaches the inside of the second ring. Between E and S is Role Models: individual/Family and Community: CHCH which is underlined and this line reaches all the way to the nucleus of the circle. Between W and N is on the edge with the underline only reaching the outside of the outermost ring. Just above that is Ready to move into Health and Wellness with the line reaching to the third ring in the circle.

The CHCH lives within the Seven Sacred Teachings of the Anishnabe people, which are:

Courage - To face responsibility of one's actions; to seek forgiveness; to say "I'm sorry".

Knowledge - Before one becomes an Elder with wisdom, one must have knowledge. One must understand the Creation Story, what it means to be Anishnabe and the full meaning of the Seven Sacred Teachings. It is through spiritual knowledge and purity of spirit that our ancestors “knew” what would be happening to our youth today." It is necessary to know what knowledge must be given to enable the Aboriginal person to be proud of his/her identity/heritage.

Respect - We do not gossip about others; when an Elder or community member dies, and children are home from school, they show respect by supporting the family in need. It is not a free day off. People are different. Respect their differences. There isn't only one way of doing things. Honor your Elders. Speak with gratitude about them. Respect Mother Earth who gives freely of her land and is saddened when cigarette butts, pop cans, paper is strewn on her soil. Respect your wife/husband/family.

Honesty - To know that honesty frees one, lightens the burden. Be honest with your self, your family, and your people. Do not tell lies to protect yourself. Sometimes it requires great bravery to be honest. Focus on the bravery, on honesty

Humility - Know that you are a sacred part of creation, and that creation is vast. You are a magnificent part of the whole. Respect and love your wonderful creation, your gifts, but be humble. Don't let your ego rule. Attempt to achieve egolessness. You will become pure and spiritual as a result.

Love - When you express love, you draw in all the good in your life. Your energy is clearer. To know love is to release your desires to the love of the Creator. If you see love in others, and do not judge, you will have peace. For you will have a deeper understanding of the people with whom you interact; you will see them through love, and will credit them with being who they are at this particular point in time.

Truth - Truth is to know all of the above, and to be at peace.



The value of CHCH to the justice system, to children and members of their community is immeasurable. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to adequately place a dollar value on the depth, quality, commitment and sustainability of the healing work achieved in Hollow Water, and the impressive track record CHCH holds.

How does one weigh the intricacies of the healing process, and how much over how long a period of time needs to be achieved to be considered value-added? How does one put a dollar value on a child's smile, the mental, emotional, spiritual and physical components of wellness. Or, how does one put a dollar figure on the power of the Seven Sacred Teachings, the core philosophy around which CHCH operates and brings healing to offenders and to the community. Suitable criteria have not been put into place, nor perhaps can they be, to quantify the threads of value for the parts that comprise the whole.

Aboriginal peoples process differently. Comparable linkages between justice system and Aboriginal criteria must be explored in different ways. The real value of CHCH work is in the value of the community being in process, more than just dollar value. As situations arise, CHCH staff members spend as much time as needed to work through the situation. Rigid schedules are not followed, and time is adapted to meet peoples' needs as opposed to fitting them into an arbitrary schedule. Value-added benefits are seen differently by a community, and may not meet the definitive standards of the dominant society. Yet a flood of real values and value-added benefits clearly permeates every aspect of life in Hollow Water.


Prior to addressing the collateral or value-added benefits of CHCH, it is important to present a snapshot of the current state of health and wellness in Hollow Water. It is also important to examine the collective action of CHCH, Child and Family Services (CFS), the school, community and community resources that move Hollow Water forward into wholeness, despite long standing issues. The climate or environment of the community presents the overarching forces that impact against CHCH and affect the work they do. This chapter will center on some of those forces: population statistics, migration patterns, education, economic conditions/housing needs, substance abuse, and personal ecology (health). Before speaking of those issues, there is a need to begin with one of the key underlying issues that the community feels it faces in Hollow Water - colonization.


The impact of colonization still reverberates in the community in terms of family violence, sexual abuse, sensitivity to authority and the dependencies colonization has perpetuated. Despite the limited number of residential school victims in Hollow Water, post-traumatic stress is evident and the ripples of pain are still being expressed. One Hollow Water resident, in particular, describes how the abused, in turn, abuse. She allows us to understand the effects of generational pain that still endures and is very much a part of her healing journey.Note 21

"My grandmother told us about what happened to my mother in Fort Alex when she had to scrub the stairs with a toothbrush because she was looking at a man, and was forced to marry this man. She had four daughters with him and left him and moved to Manigotagan where she had me with another man, and then she started to live with still another man until he died. My grandmother beat my mom. My mom died at 51, and when we did the autopsy, she had damaged kidneys from all the beatings. My aunt told me about the beatings my mom got. I remember one of my sisters used to run away to Winnipeg, and my mom and I would go looking for her. When we got her home, my mom gave her a beating. My mom was going to kill herself and throw herself off the bridge because she said she was never going to hit her kids, like she got hit, but she hit my sister and she hit me too, and I remember crying and telling her not to kill herself. Then I went away to school at 13 and I never went home after that. I graduated, went to work and got married, and worked for ten years. I worked hard and all the girls working under me got promoted, but I was the one who never got promoted. I was always asked to work overtime and I always did, but I never got promoted. And I knew it was because I was an Indian. The low esteem it gives you is true. You know the feeling, 'you're not as good as me, you're just a stupid Indian'. I then went on to (more education). I excelled in my studies and I would have been honours, but I had an argument with (a teacher). She yelled at me, and I told her not to yell at me because I was just a student and I was learning. She was really mad at me and told me she wasn't about to 'kiss______". I asked her only to treat me fair. But I noticed that Filipinos and Natives were always picked on. I missed honors by .019 because of her. Another time, I got a 100 on a test, and there were only two of us. The second time I got a 100 I was standing behind the girls who were ahead of me to check their grades. And the girl in front of me said, 'I guess its that_____Indian that got a 100 again. That kind of thing happened to me all those years. I call it 'sitting in the back of the bus'. I'm trying to de-colonize myself through sweats and by going into therapy. I know I am a good person. I know that I am. That's why I'll challenge anything that has any inkling of colonization. And if anyone makes a decision without consulting….that's colonization."

Since contact, sensitivity to authority figures, perceived as transference from residential school abuses, prompts a feeling of distrust still carried forward. This transference to bureaucracies and anyone in a position of judgment represents deep remnants of pain that attitudinally and behaviourally still cripple. Even today, a heightened sensitivity to being told what to do, being the boss or not involving the community tap very strong emotional responses. They bring back generational memories of isolation and being cut-off from Aboriginal tradition and culture, emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually.

Ingrained dependency resulting from colonization manifests as dependencies today. The government becomes the authority figure that keeps the People dependent, like children. As some Hollow Water residents have said,

"It (colonization) still affects us today. There are so many people who depend on the band for every little thing. They'll go to the band even for a doorknob for their door. They don't take enough responsibility to get their own things, what they need for themselves."

"They treated my ancestors as children. That's how my people were looked upon, as children, to listen to the Queen. I see that it continues down every generation. I see it in this generation too. We're still carrying the effects of it, like welfare. There are a lot of people who still depend on welfare because there's nothing else. The government doesn't offer us any money for jobs so that people can get off welfare and work. That's how they want to keep us, as children, asking, always asking."

"I see the effect it has had on our lives, on our community. There's such a dependency on the band. People expect the band office to pay for every little thing they use, like tile on the floor. There's no responsibility. That's how colonization works. We became dependent on authority. We were treated like little children. Our ancestors were treated like children, and that's how we carry on today, like children. People even depend on the band to pay for their wood.”

Consciously or unconsciously, staunch resistance to bureaucracies conveys the deep lack of trust that continues to prevail:

"We as Aboriginal people are undulated with all kinds of issues. Residential schools have gradually eroded our Treaty rights and self-government. Can you imagine if rightful retribution and compensation was given to every single survivor? What about the cutbacks to our health, education and social problems? Our ancestors, who were the great leaders of all time, had the foresight to try and protect us from all these things".

Even Aboriginal leaders are seen to be manipulated and lulled into complacency in order to protect their people because of an underlying fear that is perceived to exist:

"Our leaders today are all too easily manipulated and cajoled into complacency. Self-government, when it comes, will come along with a measly parcel of funds. I believe the generation today has all these concerns and more. Our leaders are afraid to say, CHCH is GREAT, and their own. Maybe they're afraid to talk about their accomplishments. Lately, anything that is good for us has been taken away, and that is the reality today."

In terms of the judicial system, incarceration isolates the victimizer and cuts him off from family and community. This cutting off of Aboriginal culture, tradition and spiritual values deeply echo colonization and the debilitating effect it has had on the People. The Aboriginal quest for judicial autonomy and the need to take ownership, stems, in the deepest way, from the need to heal the long debilitating effects of colonization.

Interestingly, one woman Elder experiencing some unresolved anger, is unable to detect its source, except to say that it happened a long, long time ago:

"I don't know where this anger comes from. But sometimes it's just there. I try to think where it comes from, but I don't know. It takes a long time for it to go, and it just comes suddenly. I think it goes back a long, long time ago."

To others, especially the younger generation, the root cause has become so buried that the effects of colonization remain unidentified or unclear, causing youth to continue to unconsciously foster it:

"The root cause has gotten so buried that other things are coming into play now, like parenting skills. We don't know how to parent our children. There are all kinds of things when you look at what the government has done to Aboriginal people. The government oppresses people, the old people. But our young people are not even conscious of it, and the young people are oppressing their own people by still following those same policies and practices and they're not even conscious that that's what they're doing to their own people. Our young people are not even aware of this."

Other young adults have become so desensitized or detached from their history that issues of alcohol, drugs, sexual abuse and family violence are viewed as mainstream societal problems largely resulting from the loss of parental and family values.

"I attended a colonization workshop and didn't even understand the term. To be colonized is to learn math, science, religion. This is what you have to do. You have to fit in. But kids are having problems in society today as a whole, so I don't think its colonization at all, I think it's just society and the lack of parental values."

In youth workshops, however, when the historical background of Aboriginal culture and the infliction brought to bear on its people were taught (such as removal of the language, ceremonies, cultural heritage, children cut off from their families, and the isolation which resulted), young people were angered when they realized what had happened to their people in the past. They looked for signs of colonization in their own families, and began to understand how the deep pain they were feeling was expressed through alcoholism, sexual abuse and family violence. The importance of decolonization began to take root.

“I was in a workshop this fall where youth talked about colonization. I myself didn't know too much about it. One of the things was that they (the youth) were angry and wanted to know why no one had told them about these things, and why it wasn't taught in school. They wanted to hear about it and wondered why people didn't talk about it. It made me realize how I was brought up, what happened between my mother and father, the alcohol, the arguments, the things that happened to me, and how I now want to bring up my kids."

"Kids don't even know that it goes back to colonization. I have a son who went through CHCH and it was not just to avoid jail, but it was the best thing that ever happened to us as a family because the family grew. But he didn't know why he has this rebellion in him. He just can't connect it."

"I used to say there's no colonization anymore. But learning more, talking to people, learning about our history, and looking at things in my community, I have to say the more I've learned, the more that I observe families, the more I see the effect is still here.”


Hollow Water is a young community, and will remain young ten years from now. 50.7% of the population is under 20Note 22, reflecting the thin edge of an Aboriginal baby boom. The birth-rate ratio among single Hollow Water teenagers is 4 times higher than that of other Manitoba First Nations.

In 1999, 32 children were born, 102 children were between the ages of 1and 4, and close to 400 ranged in age from 0-19. More than 173 young men and women were between the ages of 20 and 34. Ninety (90) residents ranged in age from 35 and 44. The numbers of older residents drops substantially after that. Only 44 people were between the ages of 55 and 65+. Those over 65 represent only 3% of the Hollow Water population (which helps to explain, in part, the lack of sufficient Elders in the community). Ten years from now the outside edge of those under 20 will only be celebrating their 29th birthday, and the birth rate will continue to rise. Because of their sheer numbers, youth will have a considerable impact on Hollow Water within the next 10 years.

The Aboriginal baby boom being witnessed in Canada will have significant impact on the justice and corrections system unless something radical is done. Youth between the ages of 18 and 25 are seen as being the primary feeder group for the criminal justice system. While the general prison and penitentiary population is seeing a decline, the percentage of Aboriginal people in correctional facilities continues to rise.Note 23

What does this mean to CHCH and Hollow Water?

The attitudes and behaviors of youth will influence actions of the community. Emerging signs are evident. For the past year and a half, CHCH has expanded into working with youth and 10% of the 1999 caseload represents young offenders. Community members report that pre-teens and teens are beginning to smoke (drugs) and drink. Not surprisingly, the adult caseload has stabilized and the number of those victimizers over 45 appears to be decreasing.

"I notice with kids, that drugs and drinking are starting up again, but it's not like what it was like when my mother and father were younger. Older people don't drink as much anymore. They've sort of stopped. But younger people are beginning to drink, but not as much as when my mom and dad were young. It's less."

"The older ones don't drink anymore. Because they're older, I guess they've learned. It's the younger ones that are starting now." (as stated by one 13 year old).

With 50.7% of the youth in Hollow Water under the age of 20, it is not surprising that drug issues are beginning to surface, characteristically expressing youth's rebellion, need for experimentation, independence from parents, peer pressure, changing role models and youth's hormonal changes. One parent stated:

"I have a store. I see young people come in just stoned out of their minds and these are only 15-16 year olds. I've seen others drunk. The young people don't want to listen to us, they want to be with their friends and listen to them, until they start having children of their own. Peer pressures are too much for them. My own son started talking back to his teachers and started losing respect for us.”

Criminology experts anticipate higher crime rates among the younger Aboriginal population. The challenge of dealing with youth related issues in the next ten years is becoming evident. Both Hollow Water and the justice system are in agreement that the needs of youth must be addressed more intensively. They concur that cases dealing with youth are different, more difficult, more time consuming and more costly when compared with that of adult offenders. CHCH expresses a strong need for support in order to expand its healing activities into the youth arena.

In agreement with their stance, the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) forecasts the possibility of a dramatic increase among young Aboriginal offenders within the next decade:

"In February of '98 Statistics Canada released figures showing that the proportion of Aboriginal prisoners admitted to federal penitentiaries has increased by 6% since 1991. This represents a thin edge of an Aboriginal baby boom that is now reaching maturity.

It is one of the surest laws of criminology that young men commit more crimes than any other segments of the population; so as the population of young Aboriginal men continues to increase over the next 10 years, CSC foresees "dramatic increases" amounting possibly to a doubling in proportion of prisoners who are Aboriginal.

Under these circumstances, finding alternatives for the revolving door of the criminal justice system is obviously URGENT!"Note 24

On the local level, CHCH is receiving an increasing number of calls from probation officers and surrounding communities inquiring whether young sexual offenders could be sent to Hollow Water for treatment. While CHCH would like to provide this service, they are seriously impeded by the lack of resources and facilities (appropriate housing and treatment center). Expansion into this area is unlikely to occur unless resources are made available and an infrastructure is put into place. The increase of these requests, however, are early indicators that the need for sexual abuse youth treatment exists, will continue to rise, and that Hollow Water may be a likely place to consider for such treatment.

CHCH/Community Action Taken

Crises prompts immediate action. By necessity in the earlier stages of CHCH, the focus was on crises intervention. As CHCH moves into its mature phase of development, and healing in the community continues, the need shifts from crises intervention to prevention. This focus is sharpened by an increasing number of youth in the community.

Hollow Water is putting into place stronger foundational supports for its youth, the most powerful of which is to help youth develop their self-esteem. As one young male said:

"When I was 16, I felt ashamed when I was outside of the reserve. I hung my head down. I wanted to belong. Now, (after learning about what it means to be Anishnabe, and the Seven Sacred Teachings) when I go outside the reserve I feel proud. I didn't really believe in anything before. It's really nice. It's nice knowing that this is mine. It makes us unique in our culture. It makes me feel part of it all. It has meaning, a belief in something.”

The community is taking responsibility for its youth by putting into place programs that address some of the underlying issues facing young people - building identity, self esteem, isolation, peer pressures, learning life skills, completing/increasing education, facing challenges (such as drugs, alcohol, work-related issues, lack of parental support). Working together and moving vertically from a focus on early childhood intervention and parenting, CHCH, CFS, band members, the school, community resources and community members are solidly intent on continuing to build, strengthen and sustain community healing of their young. In place are the following:

Also under CHCH consideration is the need to re-vamp treatment for adolescents;

"If there is no stigma attached to healing, adolescents can go through the process at a faster pace. They don't want to keep talking about the problem. We need to put into our treatment a place for self-esteem building. There have been generations where nothing has been done".

It is the intent of CHCH to put into place a youth diversion program that will enable the community to take total control of its youth. The process needs to insist on resolution (which will evolve over time), treat the youth offender, have victim and victimizers dialogue and receive treatment more quickly to eliminate going through the court process. The CHCH process will be aimed at building self-esteem, be activity focussed, and most importantly, keep young offender names off the central registry, (names now remain in the registry for 10 years). CHCH is in the process of investigating the specifics of youth diversion programs, to learn what the program entails and how to work hand-in-hand with justice to put an effective process into place.

It is worthy to note that, to date, no gang activity exists in Hollow Water.


Hollow Water has a highly literate population.Note 25 Many tend to return to the community to work and live. The second of two BUNTEP groups (Brandon University Native Teacher Education Program) has 17 students from Hollow Water completing their degree in 2001. Some are planning to return to the community to teach. Seven early childhood educators have completed community-specific early childhood training at Red River Community College receiving their level II diploma program. All seven are employed as trained early childhood educators in the community's Head Start and Day Care programs. Three others are close to completing their Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) studies at the University of Manitoba. Overall, the trend continues. More community members are completing school, obtaining certificates, getting degrees, and taking courses or training. The 1998 Hollow Water Needs Assessment indicates that close to 30% of the 175 respondents have some post-secondary training, which is reported to be higher than the national average. As Statistics Canada indicates, "Hollow Water residents tend to be equally or better educated than the average Manitoban or Canadian". This compares very favourably with the 1991 Aboriginal Peoples Survey indicating a growing trend toward higher education.

The results of a 1993 Wanipigow school evaluation indicated that 85% of the community wanted traditional values incorporated into the school curriculum. A compulsory Native Studies course resulted. All other recommendations made to the school in the evaluation were addressed. Staff retention is stable and a spirit of team building is evident. Over 350 students from grades K to 12 are enrolled. Since the inclusion of grade 12 in the school, students are staying in school longer, until the age of 16. Between 72 and 80% of the children attending the Wanipigow School are from Hollow Water which gives the reserve the strongest representation among the four MASH communities.

The dropout rate has decreased slightly, but still peaks and valleys between 7-11 per year. Dropout rates tend to increase at, or about, the 9th grade, perhaps because academic materials become harder to master or absenteeism increases. Factors affecting drop out rates center on:female students who become pregnant, "many are very bright, but choose to remain at home with their babies", students who have missed many classes and have little or no parental support, and others who are receiving informal alternative education through their fathers who teach skills and traditional values as part of the father's trapping or hunting occupation.

A trend is emerging. Every year for the past four years students (and adults), who have dropped out of school, have chosen to return to complete their education and graduate. This year's graduating class contained five such students. Emphasis on education in Hollow Water, together with the inclusion of Grade 12 in the Wanipigow school, is keeping youth in school longer and retaining them in the community.

"They now stay in school until they're at least 16".

"They're staying longer since the school goes up to grade 12 now."

As with every other school system, graduating class profiles differ. The graduating class this year is a good one. They have achieved a good scholastic record and are clean, not involved in drugs or alcohol abuse. With the exception of one year when only 7 graduated, the number of graduating seniors has consistently ranged between 10 and 12.

CHCH/Community Action Taken

An alternative education pilot program addressing the drop-out issue is being put into place in September, 2000. Currently there are three partners in this pilot project. The band partners with Frontier College (Wanipigow) to deliver the training. Indian Affairs, the funder, negotiates the agreement, and Hollow Water receives the service. Because close to 80% of children attending the school are from the reserve, Hollow Water is negotiating to assume their own tuition and is seeking representation by population.

Preventative actions are being taken by the community to address the emergence of drugs among teens and young adults. There is also evidence to suggest that with some supportive traditional mechanisms put into place, those students who feel coerced by their peers to use drugs, would have the strength to take a positive stand. As one youth said,

"I don't really want to smoke (do drugs), but its very hard when your friends are pressuring you to".

Another way that the community ensures healthier, drug and alcohol free youth, in the long term, is through early childhood intervention efforts. In Hollow Water, children are a primary focus and their care, safety, health and protection are of utmost importance. Children represent the hope of the future and impact the "seven generations" to come. CHCH, CFS, the school, the band and community have put a strong foundation into place to support children in their early years. By giving them a good early start they are breaking the cycle of violence. Children's programs, such as P.E.E.R (Parents of Early Education Resources), Head Start and day care are solid integrated beginnings, the importance of which cannot be understated.

Research has shown that children who graduate from Head Start programs have fewer dealings with the justice system in adulthood. They are less likely to spend time in prison than children who did not attend Head Start. In turn, there are great savings for the provincial and federal governments. The cost benefit summary of the Perry Preschool longitudinal study showed a savings of (US) $1,233 per graduate through age 20. The tax payer and victim benefit is (US) $6,544 per graduate. The adults who attended preschool were also found to have better employment opportunities and higher wages. These benefits are also linked to the prevention of crime. The adult graduates having a stable job and the opportunity for future advancement means they are less likely to commit crimes. They have a positive base to work with for the future.Note 26

"Anybody interested in education has got to be interested in getting there early. The first five years of life are the foundation years for the child” states Edward F. Zigler, Child Psychologist at Yale University, and founder of the Head Start program. Dr. T. Barry Brazelton of Harvard University states, “scientific research now proves that early childhood development programs that help kids in so many other ways are also our most powerful weapons in the fight against violence." This study, a report by law enforcement groups, links good day care to crime prevention and found that day care children are less likely to commit crimes later in life."Note 27 Youth who spent their early years in quality day care were half as likely to be arrested later.

Hollow Water has implemented three programs to support the development of healthy children and their parents:

P.E.E.R. P.E.E.R. is directed to mothers of newborns through to pre-school, provides resources for family needs, creates awareness of available community resources and readies the child for school through child development information-based activities. The counselor provides frequent home visits and serves as a role model for parents. She teaches parents how to help their children to read, develop fine motor skills, and about existing community resources, where and how they may be found, and what kinds of information may be obtained, (such as public health nurse, medical services, church and community resources).

Head Start. The Head Start program has just recently opened and has received overwhelming response by new mothers and fathers. Door-to-door visits introduced new parents to Head Start. The main motivating factors creating the overwhelming interest centered on wanting children to be healthy and to learn language and tradition because of gaps experienced in the parents' lives. The feeling persisted that "something was missing that we don't have". Head Start can handle approximately 30 children, divided into morning and afternoon sessions. A waiting list for enrollment exists.

The program is aimed at mothers who stay at home. Enrollment of the child is contingent upon one-day volunteer work at Head Start, helping to fund-raise or to participate in other school activities. New moms come with their babies. Programs for young mothers provide exposure to parenting and life skills. A van service provides transportation for mothers and their children.

Day Care - Day care is aimed at working mothers, but is not exclusive to them. The program is targeted to the 132 children who range in age from 0 to 4 years old. Mothers pay for day care services, either for a half or whole day, and on a graduated scale of fees if the mother has more than one child attending. Sessions accommodate younger children in the mornings, and older children in the afternoons. Enrollment can accommodate between 30 and 35 children.

The program uses a cultural approach. Children are taught the beginnings of traditional teachings. Every day, for example, children sit in circles and share how they are feeling, and what they did the previous day. Training of staff involves CPR. A van service picks up and delivers the children.

The Wanipigow school has held conferences and workshops regarding early detection of FAS/FAE children. Although the number is very small due to extensive prenatal care given to pregnant women over the years, Hollow Water has taken into their care children from other communities where FAS problems exist much more extensively. Labels are not put on children (or anyone else in Hollow Water), but observations of FAS patterns and behaviors are being given attention.

Educational efforts are being pursued in other areas as well:

The aim of the community is to build a realistic education plan that would result in solid or real jobs. This requires real planning. Instead of helping people to cope with their needs, it is Hollow Water's intent to help move its peoples beyond their needs. As one person stated,

"when we have no vision, we are more at risk".

To interact more effectively with the judicial system, (and the revolving door of new lawyers, judges and court workers who continually require re-teaching about the CHCH process), training and re-training sessions need to be put into place to help the justice system understand what CHCH does. Time, of which CHCH workers are in short supply, must be allotted for these sessions or seminars. Some ideas mentioned were:


Real population growth, due in part to Bill C-31, indicates a growth trend from 708 people living on-reserve in 1997 to 1,038 residents projected by 2016. Currently 772 people live in Hollow Water. Off-reserve membership projections estimate a growth from 484 to 1,750 by the year 2016.Note 28

Not only is the population growing, but fewer people are migrating out of Hollow Water. Movement into Hollow Water results from other band members settling in the community and the perception that Hollow Water is a good place to live. The quality of life is getting better. People are feeling better about making Hollow Water their home.

"The people here are very nice to us. My wife's treaty. I'm a half-breed, and we couldn't get a house, so I bought a house. The people are good here. They treat us good. They come to our place to support us and I like them. We were here before, but the people are better now. It wouldn't be good if (CHCH) were gone. It would go back to the old ways, and it wouldn't be safe. We wouldn't be here if that happened. It's starting to get good now."

"People are returning. I know of at least one or two families. They're telling us it is better here now."

The strongest out-migration patterns are among 18 to 21 year olds, (an increase in age from the 15 to 19 year olds who out-migrated in 1997). As reported earlier, the increase in out-migration age is due to young people staying in school longer. On- and off-reserve patterns continue to plateau between the ages of 30 to 35, which shows zero growth off reserve between those ages.

The primary reasons for out-migration appears to center on:

Community interviews reveal that among those families considered to be transient, the underlying reality is the family's hope of receiving a house. Families believe that if they move into the community, place their names on the band waiting list, they will get a house faster. When this doesn't occur after 6 to 8 months, and the burgeoning numbers of relatives living together make living conditions uncomfortable, they move out.



As of January, 2000 there were 156 housing units on the reserve. As stated earlier, on- reserve population in 1999 reached 772 people, substantially exceeding the 1998 predicted growth rate by 53 residentsNote 29. This number represents people from other bands moving into the community, as well as member in-migration to Hollow Water. It points out, in still another way, the trend of people moving back into the community.

Because a good home environment represents security, community health and safety for children and families to grow together, very serious consideration must be given to providing the basic necessities of living in Hollow Water. More homes are needed.


The community was very vocal in communicating their need for jobs. Men, in particular, relate the need for self-esteem in being able to care for and protect one's family. In a community which strives to heal itself, and which has a track record that remains unmatched in the justice system and in Aboriginal communities, two very important parts of the holistic model are missing. They have been essentially "cut off" from community funding consideration. That Hollow Water has achieved the level of healing it has, is miraculous, despite the need for two important healing components: the physical and emotional security of having a home and a year-round job. Community members note that unemployment has increased since the 1998 Aboriginal Peoples Survey reported an unemployment rate of 74.51% in Hollow Water. Approximately 44% of the adult population are receiving some form of social assistance.Note 30

As youth age within the next ten years, the population continues to expand and growing numbers of youth marry, raise families and require homes and year-round employment, the need to address the physical component of the holistic healing model increases substantially. One missing part disables the circle's wholeness, places families in jeopardy and weakens the community's healing journey. The community is placed in a poverty mode, requiring crutches to sustain it. This is especially true for males. A man's self-worth and desire to provide for his family is weakened and the center core of the family and its values is cut off. This opens the door to drugs, alcohol and family/sexual abuse. What good is the healing if it can't be sustained in its physical component?

Berma Bushie is emphatic:

"It doesn't make sense to get people well without sustaining that wellness. The long-term vision must address the unemployment rate in our community. It's an essential part of holistic healing. CHCH work must go beyond counseling, beyond seeing people. It's that, and much more. It must expand its role to address unemployment, a very important part.

Everything falls at our (CHCH) doorstep...unemployment and socio-economic health are reflections of wellness. Keeping the person well is to have employment. Treatment and employment go hand in hand. This is an area that has to be looked at very closely. Solid support for them is not out there. Our people need incentives.

With our next generation of kids, economic development must be factored in. Opportunities for our children will help them. Otherwise, there is a chance of them getting into trouble."

Hollow Water does not want a welfare state. They choose to be a self-sustaining community. The people choose to look after themselves and earn money for themselves. "It is where pride comes in", and without adequate employment to sustain families, dependencies are created...dependencies that echo colonization.

"Some people want to work, and some of them need to be motivated more. Once people start healing, they are more motivated to do something for themselves, to take responsibility for their own lives. Healing is equated with working also. You feel better about yourself if you can provide for your family. I know I feel good when I've brought something into the home that I know I bought. Nobody bought it for me. It's a good feeling, like you know, 'I did it.'''.

"Guys need more jobs, there is not enough employment for everyone. Students working in the summer is a waste of time and money because they just cut the grass. They help Elders clean up the land to make it look nicer because the grass is very long. Why don't we have a recycling plant, cleaning all the land from the garbage, do something for the environment, and giving us real jobs."

"It takes away the stability of the family. Family stability is not available if economic prosperity is not there. Men need to work for emotional and physical reasons otherwise attention is taken up with other worries. How can men feel good about themselves without jobs."

An interesting dynamic surfaces in terms of women's employment. During the early phases of CHCH, (1984-1986), only 10-15 women were working, largely in clerical positions. At that time women were highly dependent on men for economic sustenance and psychological reinforcement. Today, between 55 and 65 women are working women in diversified professional, administrative and clerical positions. Role reversal has occurred. While it positively empowers women, the psychological effects on men can be very damaging. A balance needs to be achieved.

CHCH/Community Action Taking Place

Band awareness is high. All are very aware of the community's need for year round employment and more housing. Counselors are currently engaged in serious economic development discussions and planning sessions to determine possible ways to bring appropriate employment opportunities into the community. With this in mind, and to ensure environmental respect of the area, the Band is planning a summer conference, "Sharing our Resources; Building Healthier Communities". It has invited various industry and government planners into the community as part of Hollow Water's planning, economic development and communication strategies, and its aim to be self-governing.

There is a serious need to build capacity in Hollow Water. The healing of a community requires good job opportunities, job-related skills development and sufficient housing.

As part of CHCH's collective visioning, a community fast to spiritually address community needs and visions took place in the Summer of 2000. The following are topics that arose at the community fast:


One of the sure signs of sobriety, and resulting health and wellness of a community, is illustrated by the number of parties and party houses that exist in the community. There was solid agreement that a high percentage of alcohol abuse existed between 1984 and 1986 as illustrated by the following comments:

"There were lots of parties and party houses."

"There was a lot of alcoholism, a lot of bitterness, lots of violence and a lot of sexual abuse because of all the drinking. Too many house parties. The women were a lot stronger than the men, but the men would get the women drunk and they'd pass out and the men would sexually abuse them."

Today, only two such houses exist, alcohol abuse has decreased among the older population, and a shift from alcohol to drugs seems to be emerging among young adults and teens who are beginning to experiment with both.

"I see alcohol moving out and marijuana moving in among the young."

"People are not consuming as much alcohol and there is much less violence."

"There was a lot of drinking and house parties, and I hardly see any of this anymore."

“But you can see it with the kids, they're starting to drink and smoke (drugs)."

"There's one house that we know has drugs, and sells them, even to young kids."

Commonly expressed views about the extent of substance abuse in Hollow Water emerge from a broad range of people who report:

The 25 to 34 year old segment reports that drugs are replacing alcohol. The degree to which this segment smokes is directly related to the availability of cash to purchase drugs, and money appears to be sparse in the community.

Young teens report that their peers are beginning to smoke and drink more, starting with those as young as 13.

A Hollow Water bylaw, which prohibits the use of alcoholic beverages in the community, is difficult to enforce. The adjacent communities of Manigotagan and Seymourville do not have an ordinance in place, and a hotel-bar and community store sell alcoholic beverages, making enforcement difficult.

CHCH/Community Action Taken

Action taken to address youth issues has been described earlier in the report.

Community perceptions from the fifty interviews indicate that resources are in place to address substance abuse and, throughout its history, CHCH has been highly effective in reducing the community's consumption of alcoholic beverages. There has also been a corresponding reduction in violence. The community trusts that CHCH work will be as effective with youth and other emerging issues as it has been throughout its infancy stages through to the present day.


Personal ecology, or the health of individuals in the community, is a complex area to address because other issues (alcohol abuse, family violence, sexual assault) have pre-empted the focus on personal health and nutrition. In addition, personal conflicting belief systems exist, cognitive dissonance, and psychological factors are evident, all of which mitigate against variables that tend to compromise community health and wellness.

Despite this observation, the Hollow Water State of Health reportNote 31 states that:

"the overall health of the average Hollow Water resident tends to fair well against other Manitoba First Nation residents or the average Manitoban.... Regarding health services and programs, people are satisfied with the quality of services from the local health clinic.… With full-time nursing services available locally, there has been more frequent assessment of, and attention to, serious health cases, as is demonstrated by the increase in medical transportation services."

For serious health problems or births, community members travel to Pine Falls or Winnipeg to visit family physicians. Life expectancy in Hollow Water has increased from 63 to 70 years.

The beliefs and values of Hollow Water residents refute that a high birth rate in the community is a health-related issue.

Although the birth rate is 4.1 times higher in Hollow Water than in other Manitoba Aboriginal communities, or in the entire province, the community believes that babies are "gifts of the Creator" and are, therefore, welcomed into the community (even among single mothers). Community focus appears to be on the care, health, safety and education of children, rather than on the statistics or numbers of those being born. Children are viewed in spiritual ways and are seen as the future of the next seven generations. Therefore instruction regarding condoms, which decreased the number of births during a usage campaign, and safe sex or sexually transmitted diseases do not appear to be of critical importance to young people. Belief in the values of extended families who can care for children reinforce this stance. Grandmothers play a key role in raising their grandchildren.

Also, despite the fact that diabetes is rampant in Hollow Water, people tend to disassociate the probability of getting the disease themselves.

Attempts by the school nurse to educate individuals within the community fall on deaf ears despite intensive educational efforts. Cognitive dissonance is clearly apparent. Many do not believe or see the familial relationship, or the probability of getting the disease, even if a history of it exists in the family and a number of family members have it. Very little or no association exists regarding the reality of possible serious complications, such as high blood pressure, circulatory or heart problems, obesity, infections, neurological problems, lowered levels of fat or sugar metabolism, etc. In terms of pregnancies, the implications of gestational diabetes, birth and weight problems/high risk births, and later obesity in children do not appear to take on real meaning.

This presents a very difficult situation, despite consistent efforts of the nurse who has developed and distributed a range of brochures, charts, flyers, disease-specific information on such issues as pre-natal care, alcohol abuse (NADAP brochure), high risk births and nutrition.

The HWFN State of Health Report and the Key Agent Study both agree on the top ten health problems in the community. The priorities addressed, as stated in the report, are:

Gambling did not surface as a key issue during the field interviews, nor was it discussed in general conversation, even with the existence of lottery terminals in Manigotagan, Pine Falls and Winnipeg. The community responded more strongly to diabetes, emerging alcohol and drug issues among youth, and poor nutrition among Elders and children.

Because there are only 21 Elders over the age of 65 in the community (as compared with the close to 400 people under 24), care of the aged did not surface as an immediate concern. The 42 individuals who are now between 55 and 64 years of age, and the 49 men and women who are now between 45 and 54, will present a more substantial number of Elders' health issues to address within the next ten years, placing a focus on seniors and chronic care within this time frame.


Currently, two convenience stores exist in Hollow Water, as an adjunct to Pine Falls and Winnipeg supermarkets. One markets a limited amount of fresh fruits and vegetables, and faces competition from a store in Manigotagan. The other store in Hollow Water markets processed foods, salty snacks, sugared cold cereals and other non-healthy items (such as pop, white bread). There are no signs that this is going to change. The area is unsuitable for growing fresh fruits and vegetables. Fresh produce is perishable and costly, thereby limiting purchase from Pine Falls or Winnipeg supermarkets where most groceries are purchased.

In addition, according to the Key Agent study, Hollow Water residents frequently consume foods high in fat and sodium.

CHCH/Community Action Taken

Community awareness exists regarding the overall need for better health and nutrition, and some action has been taken. More intensive community planning is required to effectively deal with diabetes as a health issue, its serious implications and its relationship with food, nutrition and exercise. There was limited discussion regarding a possible community campaign.

In terms of medical treatment and counseling, both CHCH and medical services recognize the need for consistent health/nutrition reinforcement:

A small number within the community are beginning to take responsibility for their own health (such as walking more, drinking bottled water, eating healthy snacks, green salads);

greater participation in traditional and mainstream medicine and in traditional healing practices is slowly beginning to take place, thus enabling some strengthening of mainstream medical services and traditional medicine, seen as complementary to each other in providing health and well-being to the community; and

plans are being put into place to address recreational opportunities and activities to channel teen interest away from drugs and alcohol into healthier alternatives. These plans have been discussed earlier in this report.


The current climate of Hollow Water is a clear indicator of the shifts or changes that have taken place in individual, family and community health and wellness through the direct efforts of CHCH. Hollow Water has clearly made strides in its healing journey to reach the fullness of life, or P'madaziwin.


The rating scalesNote 32, designed to obtain these shifts or changes, place Hollow Water a little more than half way on its path to wellness. CHCH goals that bring family-centered, productive, resourceful members into the community and put safeguards into place that protect the healthy growth, happiness and safety of children are being realized.

From a low rating of 0-3 between 1984 and 1986, Hollow Water has achieved a wellness level of 5-6 today, a little more than half-way into wholeness. Hope is being expressed and people seem more open. They are freer to share, are more respectful, and assertive. The quality of life is getting better, and this results in people returning to live in Hollow Water because "life here is better now".

Diagrammatically, the process of change and the forces or trends impacting against CHCH are illustrated on the next page. CHCH root values are the Seven Sacred Teachings, the core or heart of the CHCH process. It is the strength of this spiritual core, upheld by each worker, which manifests within the circle healing and treatment process that enables healing to occur.

Image Description

The graphic above titled "The Process of Evolvement: Forces which impact CHCH" shows an unbroken ring of a circles moving upwards and outwards and at the bottom of the rings are the words root values. In a cloud rising up from the bottom are the words empowerment, balance, healing, and accountability. To the right of the rings near the top circle are the words Change/Evolution Occurs in Spirals/Circles with a line moving into the rings. Written underneath the graphic are the words: Connected to the Creator-The Spiritual core by which CHCH operates, and healing occurs.

Image Description

The graphic above titled "Community Perceptions: The State of Health & Wellness in Hollow Water" is a wellness indicator that starts goes from 0 to 10 and begins in 1984 to present. To the far right is a turtle with the words P'madaziwin (the fullness of life) which is the goal of the healing and wellness journey. It shows that progress has been made by the community of Hollow Water and that the objective of moving the whole community towards health and wellness continues.

Despite the forces impacting against CHCH, the strength of the circles continue to build and empower. As the circles move upward, or evolve, each element within the healing process is being addressed. Individuals, family and community integrate into these healing energies that continuously create and expand a spiritual web. As the circles of healing build, merge and evolve, they encompass more people, thus lifting and up lifting and lifting again until the circle moves to its next ever expanding level. As more and more people heal, the circles continue to expand and evolve, the community is strengthened and, in time, P'madaziwin, the fullness of life, is achieved.

As with any circle, in any healing process, highs and lows exist. New insights and issues come to light, are worked through, healed and the person gets stronger, which further expands the circle.

Like the pendulum model of change, the process of evolution never returns to the way it was in the past. Evolution ensures sustained growth. While healing rhythms differ, and periods of movement may be slower or faster, dip or heighten, the forces of spiritual change and CHCH efforts continue to propel the community into healing and wellness.

Changes from a closed, bitter, angry, secretive community of the past to one which is more open, caring, kind and responsible, in the present are exemplified by some of the following comments. Throughout the interviews, there was a pattern of responses similar to the following:


1984-1986 1995 2000
We felt shame. We felt nobody else felt the same way. Then women started talking about it. I couldn't talk to my husband. I had to be drunk to tell him exactly how I felt. He used to tell me what to do, what not to do, what a woman should be doing. And women weren't working then, so you had to listen. Then I found out what happened. My husband sexually abused a child. I was in shock, screaming and crying. Then things started to get better after that. Going through the circles. After we all went through it, things began to change. It's like a rose. It feels like a rosebud opening up. I can talk back to him now because he can't do anything. But I'm not afraid of him anymore.
Only a handful of people recognized that health and wellness were needed in this community. There were lots of parties going on at that time. Gradually we awakened to our needs and the things that were going on. We went through training, and that helped us. It's starting to get much better. There were lots of disclosures and we all learned from that. This taught people and opened their eyes to violence, and what was happening to our children.
There was a lot of alcoholism in the community. A lot of alcohol, lots of violence, lots of sexual abuse. Children were abused by family. It was all hidden. No one talked about it. We finally started to see how unhealthy it was. There were a lot of disclosures that made us see what was happening. People are nicer now. They will do something for you now without expecting money. There are hardly any house parties anymore.
Before there was silence. People were afraid to make disclosures because they thought no one would believe them, no one would support them. It was my children who started to talk about it long before I did. But they didn't tell me when they were younger because it was in the family, among family. It's much better now. People are more open now. It's pretty hard for me to open up. It took me longer. My children helped me. I feel an opening up. I have come to an opening were I could talk now. It is quite a feeling. It's pretty hard to explain that opening. It's like fresh air.
Children were abused. There was so much alcohol, many parties, mothers didn't care about their children. Beer bottles were lying around. People were negative. They weren't good to each other. Children learned about safe touch. Parents learned about how to be parents. Children are safe now. Parents are parenting more, taking an interest in their children. More families get together without alcohol first. No beer bottles lying around on the ground.

Interesting and important to observe, the Seven Sacred Teachings, the core values of CHCH, were often interwoven in the commentary of many. Words like responsible, accountable, caring, sharing, honesty, respect and courage were used and became part of the value system of the individual.

Whether consciously or unconsciously, the core values by which CHCH operates are slowly becoming integrated into community belief systems. One powerful example comes from a young womanNote 33 who exhibits honesty, courage and truth in sharing her own personal history. She considers CHCH a role model in her life, and has moved from the depths of despair into her own natural leadership strengths working with youth in recreational areas. This is her way of contributing to the healing process of others. The state of unwellness in the community's past history, as it impacted against a young pre-teen, illustrates her depth of pain and gives some insight into why drugs (and possibly gangs) exist in Winnipeg.

"I knew by the time I was 16 that it was really bad in our community (1984-1986) because of all the drinking. I guess I saw this from the time I was 12 years old. While I wasn't sexually abused, I saw a lot of what was going on with the drinking and everything else. I thought it was a dream. I just couldn't believe it. I didn't know whether it was real or not. I didn't know if I was sad, or angry, or where I was. It was dreamlike. I was just existing. When I can't talk about something, when I can't deal with my feelings, I create a drama. I did this ever since I was a kid. I moved to Winnipeg and at 16 I was a toker, almost suicidal. Oh, God, I hated being a little girl, but it's worse in the city. I thought if I was tough and defensive, it would help me. So I wore black clothes and dark sunglasses all the time. I covered my eyes so no one could see me. But I wore bright red and yellow runners (an inner expression of hope). I learned that a city is not a community. Here, in Hollow Water at least, if a man fights with his wife, some other man might be there to defend her. But in a city its much worse, other men just won't help. By 19, I was taking acid and I had a really bad reaction. I really got ripped. Some things happened to me. I felt far away. I agreed to therapy but I never followed up on it. I got kicked out of 3 different schools and graduated high school at the age of 20. The Flying on Your Own Program was my first taste of hope. It was actually a self-awareness program. I used to blame my brother and sisters because they were supposed to take care of me, and it was hard for me to look at them or listen to them because I felt angry with them still. But they showed me that I wasn't crazy, and I had the right to feel victimized even if I wasn't. To hear them talk and to hear that they shared the same feelings as mine made me feel much better.

Bernie took me through breathing exercises, and that was really good. That helped, and Berma has had a very strong influence on me. She opens her mouth. All the other women I saw were beaten down. Not her. She always talks about how we go back to tradition, and this is how I learned about the Sacred Teachings. No one ever told me these teachings were valuable. We were told to practice sharing and respect in our family, but I never related it to the Sacred Teachings until Berma talked about it. I wanted a chance!”

The real value of CHCH is being in process, the results of which far outweigh the value of a dollar. The community is healing generational pain. There is no question that the work of CHCH is resulting in a healthier community. Many types of benefits result as a factor of the CHCH process.


Signs of Health and Wellness - Children and Parenting

A myriad of signs of health and wellness are voiced by the people of Hollow Water: Since the heart of CHCH efforts center on the child, it is not surprising that many of the immediate comments played back focused on children.

"Children are happier."

"You can see the effect of teaching in the home."

"10-11 year old boys respect their Elders and listen when told what to do."

"They have clean fun."

"It's a lot safer for children than when I was going to school.”

"Small children under 4 respond openly; their eyes are bright, they are warm and responsive, smile easily."

"All the resources are there for children to make whatever possible connections are needed in a child's life."

"Lots of laughter."

"Safety. Children are safer now."

"I would let my child walk outside."

"There are more support groups for single parents, more healing groups."

"Parents are taking more of an interest in their children. They're doing more with them. They take them to hockey games, they spend more time with them."

"More kids are going to school, and staying in school longer."

"Children are more outspoken, more confident. They're not afraid to talk to adults or being part of adult circles. I see a lot of change happening. It keeps getting better."

"Parenting has improved."

"Laughter. There's more laughter."

"Little by little things are changing. I just notice now that parents are more committed to doing things for their children."

"Our kids are happier. CHCH really cares for the kids. I work in the school and I see that kids are happier. Like take little Chris. They (CHCH) kept working to find him a safe, good home that he would be happy in. They kept working with the family until they found the right house. I guess it took a couple of families before they found the right house. I see that Chris is very happy where he is now. CHCH is serious about what they do, and children are very important to them."

"CHCH had to train homes around the dynamics of abuse, around the behaviors of children, the families and the community, and then put safeguards within those homes for children. Once homes were established CHCH was able to move the children from their own families into these homes for short periods of time, as short as possible. Always, the child needs support and to know that what has happened is not his/her fault."

Signs of Empowerment - Community Voices

"We're a lot different than we were before (refers to male friends, ages 20-27). Eventually we will be smart enough to make changes that are needed. There are enough of us now to vote someone in and we really want to change things, really make things turn around. It's starting to happen among my age group."

"Children are coming forward (to disclose) when they don't feel safe."

"We are finding now that victims are more assertive. They are able to tell us what they want. They weren't able to do that in the past. I see less and less "poor me". They know they have rights and they feel freer to ask for things. They tell us what they want."

"More people are getting treatment to get themselves healthy."

"We're (CHCH) sentencing our own people for their crimes. This is good."

"People are now taking the initiative for help and counseling and they're asking for help. They are coming forward for treatment. They are asking for what they want."

Woman Power

"Women are not taking as much from men anymore. They're standing up for themselves."

"Women are stopping the violence in their homes now."

"Women are feeling they can speak up."

"She (community member) called the Chief to question what was happening with a neighbor's problem."

"I asked the chief to reconsider what he wants to do (in a situation), that he would be making a serious mistake if he allowed it (the situation) to happen."

"I would like CHCH to run more women's groups. Just regular groups so we can get together as women and just talk about things."

Taking Action, a Community Responsibility

"More people in the community are getting together to fight drugs."

"We are getting more involved with our community. The more involved we become the less we need interventions. Any activities are prevention."


"You hardly hear people gossiping anymore."

"People are treating each other better. They are more caring."

"CHCH teaches respect. They live this. Some are more traditional, some are more Christian, but there are no labels."

"We respect others' choices".

Broadening of Resources

"CHCH has broadened our resources and that can only be good. We're all so much more informed. There have been so many workshops, not just in terms of health and wellness, but in personal changes as well."

"We have a lot more resources, and we're told about them, so we know now."

"In 1984 you didn't even hear about FAS/FAE. Before no one admitted to it. Now we know what it is and how to deal with it."


"CHCH is always willing to help you with any problem."

"I feel its okay to call one of them if I have some questions to ask. They always are there for you."


"People are now more open. They've learned how to deal with things when things happen."

"They don't hide things. They talk about them."

"People are more honest and they get along better with each other."

Strengthening Tradition - Respect for Differences

"I see more people becoming involved in tradition, such as sweats, fasting and Sundance."

"There is something going on in terms of tradition, but everyone is doing it his own way. One person does his thing, sweat lodge and ceremonies. But I guess they do it in different ways. I went to one sweat and it was different. Everybody has their own way. I learn from it no matter who does it."

"A lot of younger kids want to drum. When it first started there were only four kids, and now there's lots."

"I knew I was Indian, but I didn't know anything about my Indian culture until I went to BC to an Aboriginal Catholic Conference. That's where I learned about my Indian culture. We went into small sharing groups. (sons practice traditional ways). The first time my sons got into it, they made a ceremony inside of the house. I didn't know what to say. Tears came to my eyes. It made me cry because I felt I was losing a son. I didn't know anything about my Indian culture. After we went around the circle, Father came up to me and said, 'you thought you were losing a son. You didn't lose a son. You found an Indian.' I've always known I was an Indian, but I didn't even know I was a true Indian. And then as I went back, I learned about more and more things that talked about culture. It just went back to the way I was brought up, and everything came back to me. I think children should learn about their culture. Some know about tradition, some don't. I think it would help."

"I have a one year old granddaughter. I was smudging my house and she was following behind me as I smudged. I turned around and showed her the smudge, and she went like this (showed how child smudged herself), and I told her the Creator blessed her. She must have been watching me. I did it to myself and then smudged the house."

"There is more cultural awareness now."

Harm Reduction

“I try not to go to ceremonies yet. I don't think I'm ready. I still drink every now and then. Before when I drank I didn't know what I was doing. I just wanted to get out of it all. Now it's not the same anymore. I can control it before it gets out of hand, and I only drink socially on weekends when I do drink. It's not the way it used to be. My friends tell me they can't believe the change in me."

"Alcohol still exists, but it has been reduced. It's not like it used to be, and is down among the older people."

CHCH: A Harbor of Safety - a feeling of belonging; of closeness

“People now have a place to come to. They (CHCH) are there for healing. It gives people a sense of belonging. If they don't belong at home, if they don't belong at school, if they don't belong with their family, they can feel they belong at CHCH. They can go there and feel safe."

"The whole town becomes your family. Knowing everybody here is a security. The quality of life is good. My husband is home right now. He wanted our son to have a good life. That's why we are here."

Important to Justice - Keeping the lid on Violence

The CHCH pillars of strength are in place, strengthening the community as it moves forward. To the people, the end result of their work keeps the lid on violence.

"They keep the lid on things."

"CHCH keeps those who would be violent, down."

"Some families here are still violent. Because CHCH exists, they're keeping them from the violence."

CHCH - Viewed as a Poultice

"It's like using a poultice in an area to draw the poisoned blood out of the system. By doing that, it allows healing to take place in the family. CHCH is not a band-aid solution. It's a poultice.

When approached with the hypothetical question, "what if CHCH were no longer in the community," responses were not surprising:

"Utter chaos"

"It would become silent again"

"Our kids would be taken from us and those not taken would be in danger from people in the community."

"It would go back again to the way it was in 1984-1986. A lot had to come out for families to heal. It brought out lots of hidden secrets so people could deal with them. It would go back to the same thing."

"It would be a great loss. CHCH holds the community together and going in the right direction. CHCH workers are good role models in how to live a responsible life."

"The communities would fall apart. Suicides would become common. Many people would deny they need help." And one or two young adults said, "it'll go back to the level at which the people have healed."

Among those interviewed, there is unanimous community support for CHCH...The shifts or changes that have occurred in the community were directly attributed to the workers.

A Perspective from the Local Probation Officer

From a non-Aboriginal point of view and someone who has interacted with the community since the early 80's, benefits of CHCH work and the evolvement of the community is clear and corroborates community perception.

"I've been providing service to the community since the early 80's, and I understand conceptually what was behind the move to create CHCH and I do see how it has evolved. My job involves people. In my mind, there's ton's more vitality in the community which I attribute solely to CHCH. There's more zip. It's my gut feeling that there's a sense now that people can make a difference and its self-determination that makes the difference. I see more conceptual understanding and why it's meaningful for a community to have responsibility. Because people understand more conceptually, this shows up in more readiness of people who need to participate and more trust in the process.

There are lots of initial stages. There are some vestiges of resistance from the community. That's the nature of this work. You'd expect that. But there is more receptiveness to self-help in the community, more self-determination, more vibrancy and more robustness. I see that Jeannette, Marilyn and myself do the probation work. Both the women do tons of work, the bulk of the work. Jeannette has been doing it for a long time, and I find her to be a very skilled woman. Both are good.”

Bits and pieces of CHCH work go unrecognized because of improper measurement or the lack of measurement.

"CHCH provides a lot of liaison with the court. Things they do that are cross-departmental responsibilities. To my knowledge that work is not being measured (recognized) and should be, because some have a lack of understanding of the vast amount of work they do. Corrections gives lip service to community development. In terms of dollars, it just doesn't cut it. To corrections it's a matter of risk and enforcement. So, in terms of community development, it doesn't count, and it should, because a healthier community leads to less risk. They (CHCH) are accountable to risk and enforcement, but they do it differently."

The CHCH model is seamless. It doesn't break healing into parts and programs. Despite the fact that very few kids go into custody from First Nations communities, a seamless process is not understood by corrections.

“The tripartite agreement resulted in First Nations agencies making a significant difference. Kids are now going into custody in their communities, and this is happening from Little Grand Rapids to Ontario and the U.S. borders. Very few go into custody from First Nations communities. But we still get the same number of kids in mainstream. That hasn't decreased. So it has made a difference, and this difference should be recognized."

He goes on to say an emerging trend is youth alternative measures that will eventually happen in the province of Manitoba. Another trend is towards prevention, new and early intervention.

The RCMP in Pine Falls report that the new trend is now to do family group conferencing and prevention. However, CHCH has been doing this for years in a much deeper, holistic, family-community centered way.

The suggestion made by the probation officer is for CHCH to get away from all external sources, and use only those resources within the community, to be totally self-reliant. (such as to do all the probation work on their own in order to 'own' it).


Hollow Water has demonstrated its accountability. They are, and have been, taking action to heal their community, and to sustain this healing. A strong nucleus of health and wellness has formed. It is of utmost importance to support, strengthen and expand this nucleus. Hollow Water continues to serve as a true icon of healing in Aboriginal communities throughout Canada.


As stated in Chapter 2, the value of CHCH to the justice system, to children and members of their community is immeasurable. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to adequately place a dollar value on the depth, quality, commitment and sustainability of the healing work achieved in Hollow Water, and the impressive track record CHCH holds.

How does one weigh the intricacies of the healing process, and how much over how long a period of time needs to be achieved to be considered value-added? How does one put a dollar value on a child's smile, the mental, emotional, spiritual and physical components of wellness. Or, how does one put a dollar figure on the power of the Seven Sacred Teachings, the core philosophy around which CHCH operates and brings healing to offenders and to the community. A suitable criteria has not been put into place, nor perhaps can it be, to quantify the threads of value or the parts that comprise the whole.

There is, however, a need to attempt to quantify the success of Hollow Water from a cost and savings perspective. Governments, and the public-at-large, are beginning to question the amount of resources going to Aboriginal communities for what some consider to be “soft” projects. Aboriginal communities working in the area of healing and wellness have known for some time that the work they do with victims, offenders and their families is not “soft”. It is, in fact, very hard both in terms of commitment and emotion. They know that they are keeping members out of provincial and federal justice, corrections and social service systems and they know what it costs to have their members go through those systems.

This chapter explores the financial aspects of the Hollow Water Community Holistic Circle Healing program (CHCH). More specifically, it examines the cost of operating the program and compares it to what the cost would be if the victimizers were processed through the justice system in a holistic manner.

The review included identification of the following:


Annual Costs:

The CHCH program is operated as a division, or department, of the Hollow Water First Nation. The band's annual audited financial statements provide the Statement of Revenue and Expenditures for the CHCH operations. The statement for the year ending March 31, 2000 is reproduced as Schedule A. In summary, the expenditures are outlined in Table A.

Table A: Expenditures for CHCH Operation

  2000 1999
  Expenditure Amount Percentage of Total Expenditure Expenditure Amount Percentage of Total Expenditure
Salaries and Benefits $228,125 84 % $251,161 85 %
Other $42,173 16 % $45,047 15 %
Total $270,298 100 % $296,208 100 %

As can be seen from the above, staff costs account for over 80% of total expenditures. Most of the other expenses are directly related to staff activities (such as travel). Staff vacancies have reduced costs in both years but more so in the year ending March 31, 2000. The current staff compliment consists of one manager, one office administration position and five counsellors.

A review of the CHCH costs for the previous years indicates similar levels of and types of expenditures. This led to the conclusion that a figure of $300,000 as an annual cost, would be a representative figure to use when comparing the costs of operating CHCH to the costs that would be incurred by the provincial or federal governments for mainstream services. There is, however, an upward pressure on this and it is difficult to maintain the quality with the grants currently available. In addition to the usual inflationary pressures, CHCH is faced with a client increase each year. CHCH success is in part based on maintaining services and support for victims and victimizers until healing is achieved. Thus, each year more people come into the program but there is not a corresponding departure. The intensity of support to an individual may have an effect on the ability to expand services to youth and to provide help to other communities.


CHCH received funding, through contribution agreements, from both the federal and provincial governments, with each contributing $120,000 per year to the project. The funding is project specific and is not ongoing. In addition, the amount contracted has not increased. The normal inflation in costs has been born by additional contributions from the Hollow Water First Nation, by program efficiencies and by using additional community resources (volunteers) to avoid reducing the program. In the year ending March 2000, the band's direct monetary contribution was $7,121 and in the previous year it was $14,144 (See Schedule A). The amounts would have been more if CHCH staff vacancies had not reduced the costs in each of the years. In addition, the band provides some in-kind services, such as accounting, to CHCH that further increase their contribution.

CHCH also receives considerable benefit from community resources. Volunteers are trained and assist counsellors in many of their duties. This includes, but is not limited to: driving, suicide watch, participation in circles, and accompanying workers for safety. The community also provides support in other ways such as helping with visitors who come to Hollow Water to learn and train in this restorative justice program.

The integrated nature of CHCH with the band and the community does not allow the calculation of a precise dollar value for the non-monitory contributions. A conservative estimate of 3,500 volunteer hours, at $10.00Note 34 per hour, would indicate that at least $35 000 per year of volunteer time, services and support were provided, that would otherwise be paid staff time.

It is fair to summarize the funding of CHCH as a three-way partnership. The federal and provincial governments provide fixed funding each year as their contribution. Hollow Water First Nation provides any shortfall in funding and volunteer community resources as their part of the partnership.

Client Statistics

In order to compare the CHCH costs to costs that would have been incurred by the mainstream systems, it was necessary to determine the number of victimizers that were diverted to CHCH. A complete list of victimizer showing name, date of birth, date charged and offence was prepared by CHCH staff. This list included all victimizers since the program started 10 years ago. The victimizer list was rearranged into male, female and youth victimizers and grouped by type of offence. This information is summarized in Table B, (The detailed victimizer lists are provided as Schedule B1, B2 and B3. Names have been removed to assure confidentiality.)

Table B: Victimizer Summary

  Male Female Youth Total
AssaultNote 35 33 3 5 41
Sexual AssaultNote 36 27 2 8 37
Theft and Break and Enter 3 0 4 7
Criminal Loss of LifeNote 37 1 2 0 3
Other OffencesNote 38 4 0 2 6
Subtotal 68 7 19 94
Referred from Other Reserves 7 0 0 7
Confronted (voluntarily entered treatment) 6 0 0 6
Total 81 7 19 107

Table C: Victimizer Statistics (by age at date of charge)

Years of Age Male Female Total
Under 16 9 1 10
Under 18 9 0 9
Subtotal Youth 18 1 19
18 to 20 13 2 15
21 to 25 12 3 15
26 to 30 18 0 18
31 to 40 11 2 13
41 to 50 9 0 9
Over 51 5 0 5
Subtotal Adult 68 7 75
Total 86 8 94

The age of the victimizers was calculated as part of determining what sentences might have been applied if the victimizers had proceeded through the court system.


The CHCH program can be considered a sentencing diversion program that enables the victimizer to remain in the community, while participating in an intensive healing process that enables the victimizer to be both accountable to the community and have an opportunity for real and sustainable holistic personal change. Justice system costs were established by determining a cost for each step that a victimizer would go through if not diverted to CHCH. This included all processes from the first reporting of a suspected crime, through the police work, the trial, incarceration and parole to final release. By far the most significant cost is incarceration. Since the victimizer pleads guilty in court, this process is an alternative to incarceration as opposed to true diversion, where charges would be stayed or dropped.

These costs were then applied to the victimizer list and a typical cost determined for each offence. Two assumptions needed to be made.

That if the victimizers did indeed go to trial, that they would be found guilty and further, that their sentence would fall within the national averages shown here.

Given national trends in Aboriginal corrections, it is assumed that each federal offender would serve 66% of his total sentence in a federal institution.

Costs were estimated by referring to national publications on such things as sentencing norms for all the offences identified in the victimizer list and costs of incarceration. Knowledgeable people were also interviewed by telephone confirming publication data and providing more specific information relative to CHCH. This included the Hollow Water Constable, staff of CHCH, RCMP officers, prosecutors and defence attorneys, judicial staff, various federal and provincial government officials. Sufficient information was available to determine reliable cost data of what costs would be if the 107 victimizers cared for by CHCH had gone through the criminal justice process.

Table D.1 details the type of federal offences committed by the adult males victimizers and the corresponding time that is estimated they would have spent in prison and on parole. For purposes of this study, it has been estimated that Aboriginal offenders would spend approximately 66 percent of their sentence in an institution as opposed to 60 percent for non-Aboriginal offenders.Note 39 Table D.2 uses this information to estimate the costs associated with the total prison and parole years. It should be noted that inmate-related costs are reported, which reflect the cost of adding an offender to a prison that exists - extra funds would not be made available for the costs of prison management, but rather those costs that are specific to the individual inmate; inmate pay, canteen, clothing, food services, cleaning, health care and education. The operational costs are those that incorporate all expenditures in the institution, including management. Neither the inmate-related costs nor the operational costs reflect the expense of Regional Headquarters, nor National Headquarters administration. If one were to find the actual costs, they would vary from individual to individual, depending on the specific institution used, treatments, and conduct during incarceration and a number of other factors that cannot be determined. Further, costs reported here do not reflect the additional cost of psychological services and specialized sex offender treatment programs, which are acknowledged to be more costly than standard incarceration costs.

Tables D.3 and D.4 detail the type of provincial offences committed by the adult male victimizers, corresponding time that is estimated they would have spent in prison and on probation and an estimation of the cost incurred to the Manitoba government. It should be noted that for the provincial (and young offender costs), inmate related versus operation costs were not available, therefore only one cost is reported. The corresponding information for women is in Tables E.1 and E.2 and for young offenders is in Tables F.1 and F.2

In each table, the pre-incarceration costs include the expenditures for the investigation of the crime, remand and court/trial. It is difficult to determine an average total for this expenditure, as it depends greatly on many variables. An individual can spend no time in remand (released on bail or own recognizance), or up to two years in remand awaiting trial. The investigation can take one day or three years. The individual could plead guilty immediately, saving the cost of a trial, or could enter a plea of innocence and have a lengthy trial. Given the above variables, an average of $19,500 is a very conservative estimation (See details in Schedule C).

Estimated Costs to the Federal Government:

Table D.1: Adult Male Victimizers: Federal Offenders

Offences # of Offenders Average Sentence (years) Average Time Incarcerated (years) Total Time Incarcerated (years) Average Time Parole (years) Total Time Parole (years)
Assault 33 3 1.8 59.4 1.2 27.5
Sexual Assault 27 4 2.4 64.8 1.6 43.2
Manslaughter 1 8 4.8 4.8 3.2 3.2
Other Offences 4 3 1.8 7.2 1.2 4.8
From Other Communities 7 3 1.8 12.8 1.2 8.4
Total 72     148.8   87.1

Table D.2: Federal Government Cost Estimates Over 10 Years For Adult Male Victimizers

Process Inmate Related Cost Total Inmate Related Amount Operational Cost Total Operational Amount
Pre-Incarceration Costs (costs assumed by Manitoba)        
Incarceration 148.8 yrs @ $7,390/yr Note 40 $1,099,632 148.8 yrs @ $59,661/yr Note 41 $8,877,557
Parole Supervision

87.1 yrs @ $13,000/yrNote 42

$1,132,300 87.1 yrs @ $13,000/yr $1,132,300
Total   $2,231,932   $10,009,857

Table D.3: Adult Female Victimizers: Provincial Offenders

Offences Number of Offenders Average Sentence (years) Average Time Incarcerated (years) Total Time Incarcerated (years) Average Time Parole Total Time Parole
Assault 3 3 1.8 5.4 1.2 3.6
Sexual Assault 2 4 2.4 4.8 1.6 3.2
2nd Degree Murder 1 10 6.0 6.0 4.0 4.0

Failure to Provide Necessity

1 2 1.2 1.2 1.8 1.8
Total 7     17.4   12.6

Table D.4: Federal Government Cost Estimates Over 10 Years For Female Victimizers

Process Inmate Related Costs AMOUNT Operational Cost Amount
Pre-Incarceration Costs (costs assumed by Manitoba)        
Incarceration 17.4 yrs. @ $7,390/yr Note 43 $128,586 17.4 yrs. @ $113,610/yr Note 44


Parole Supervision 12.6 yrs @ $13,000/yr $163,800 12.6 yrs. @ $13,000/yr $163,800
Total   $229,386   $2,140,614

Estimated Costs to the Provincial Government:

Table E.1: Male Victimizers: Provincial Offenders

Offences Number of Offenders Average Sentence (years) Average Time Incarcerated (years) Total Time Incarcerated (years) Average Time Probation (years) Total Time Probation (years)
Theft and Break and Enter 3 0.49 0.49Note 45 1.47 0 0
Total 3     1.47   0

Table E.2: Provincial Government Cost Estimates Over 10 Years for Male Victimizers

Process Cost Amount
Pre-Incarceration Costs. (Includes 72 federally sentenced males) 75 offenders @ $19,500/offender $1,462,500
Incarceration 1.47 Yrs @ $32,798.90 / yr Note 46 $48,214
Total   $1,510,714

Table E.3: Provincial Government Cost Estimates Over 10 Years For Female Victimizers Sentenced to Federal Institutions

Process Cost Amount
Pre-Incarceration Costs (costs assumed by Manitoba) 7 offenders @ $19,500 $136,500
Parole Supervision    
Total   $136,500

Table F.1: Young Offenders: Provincial Offences

Offences Number of Offenders Average Sentence (years) Average Time Incarcerated (years) Total Time Incarcerated (years) Average Time Probation (years) Total Time Probation (years)
Assault 5 1.42 0.42Note 47 2.1 1Note 48 5
Sexual Assault 8 2.42 0.92Note 49 7.36 1.5Note 50 12
Theft and Break/Enter 4 1.25 0.25Note 51 1 1 4
Other Offences Note 52 2 0 0 0 0 0
Total 19     10.46   21

Table F.2: Provincial Government Cost Estimate Over 10 Years For Young Offenders

Process COST Amount
Pre-Incarceration Costs 19 offenders @ $19,500 $370,500
Incarceration 10.6 yrs @ $46,000/yr $487,600
Probation Supervision 21 yrs @ $6,000/yr $126,000
Total   $984,100

To summarize, the total estimated amount that the federal government would have spent on the incarceration and supervision of participants in the CHCH program over the past ten years, had they proceeded through the correctional justice system would be a minimum of $2,461,318. The actual costs probably lie somewhere between the minimal costs of adding a single new inmate in a federal institution and the larger amount of $12,150,471. Most, if not all, of the 72 adult male victimizers from Hollow Water would be placed in Stony Mountain penitentiary. That number of offenders may have had additional impacts on the operational costs for the institution.

The total amount that would have been spent by Manitoba over the past ten years for pre-incarceration, incarceration and supervision of the participants is estimated as being $2,631,414.


The second key component of the services provided by CHCH, is the work that is done with the victims of the individuals that are receiving treatment and the families of both the victims and the victimizer. It is this work that promotes individual, family and community healing and wellness, and is a cornerstone of the restorative justice process in the community of Hollow Water. Through their work with those affected by the victimizer's actions, it provides an opportunity for victimizer accountability, counseling for all people affected by the crime and for the community to come to terms with the issue and move forward.

The total of 107 victimizers understates the number of people CHCH deals with and considers their responsibility. For each victimizer, there exists at least one victim and the families of both the victim and the victimizer, which are counseled and supported as a key part of the healing process. Schedule B also shows that some of the victimizers have been convicted of more than one offence, which also increase the number of people (victims and families) involved. It is estimated that 400 to 500 people have received support from CHCH but it is more accurate to say the whole community has benefited.

Due to this unique aspect of the program, it is difficult to find another service with which to compare cost value of the service provided. It is however, appropriate to estimate that at least two counselor position person years are spent each year providing family and victim services. It is debatable whether this service is best aligned with the RCMP (victim services) or it is best aligned with family and social services (Child Protection / Welfare). For the purposes of this project, we will assume that it is most comparable to the work provided by the provincial government, through the Department of Child and Family Services. The work that the CHCH staff does is largely counseling, therapeutic and supportive in nature and exceeds that of police-based victim services.

It is estimated that the cost to the government for each position is between $52,000/year and $60,000/year, the average being $56,000/year. If those two counselors did not exist, and the Provincial Government was to provide a reasonably similar service for the community of Hollow Water, it could be argued that it would cost Manitoba $56,000 per position, for a total of $112,000 per year. For the ten years of Hollow Water's existence, the estimated total cost to the Manitoba Government would be approximately $1,120,000.


The final key component to the CHCH Program is the work that has been done in community development. This includes presentations, workshops, participating in community recreational events, ceremonies and other activities. CHCH members are active in the community and dedicated to strengthening the circle within the community. Again, finding a manner of comparing the cost of participating in the community restoration is very difficult. Some of this work is done through the volunteer efforts of staff, over and above the work that they do with victims, families and victimizers.

There are additional benefits, which are evident from reading earlier chapters in this report, but are unable to be calculated accurately enough to be included. Examples include the benefits of keeping a family together, keeping a child in school, holding a victimizer accountable for his/her actions in the community and providing a community healing process. These can only be evaluated through a long-term study of the Hollow Water community as a whole.


As previously mentioned, CHCH has received approximately $120,000.00 per year from each of the federal and provincial governments, as well as other contributions, to create an average of $300,000 spent each fiscal year. Through interviews with CHCH staff, and review of program documents, it is estimated that 60% of their time is spent on victimizer treatment, 30% of time is spent with the victims or families, and 10% of time is spent providing services that are oriented towards community development. Using these percentages, a comparison could be drawn between the cost of providing the CHCH services, to the cost of providing services by federal and provincial government departments.

Table G: Estimated Cost Comparisons

  CHCH Provincial Costs Federal Costs Total Costs to Governments
Victimizer Services (60%) X 10 years $1,800,000 $2,631,414 $2,461,318 to $12,150,471

$4,863,346 to $12,641,271

Victim and Family Services (30%) $900,000 $1,120,000   $1,120,000
Community Development Services (10%) $300,000      
Total $3,000,000 $3,751,414 $2,461,318 to $12,150,471 $6,212,732 to $15,901,885

Table G. demonstrates that the raw benefit of the CHCH program is very significant. CHCH has been operating for about ten years during which the governments of Canada and Manitoba have contributed a combined total of $240,000 per annum or an estimated total of $2,400,000. There have been some additional, relatively minor grants or expenditures by the governments, but these will not materially affect the overall totals. The above table indicates that the financial benefits to both governments (the total government expenditure less the CHCH expenditure)have been, at minimum, $3,212,732 over the past 10 years.

The total cash saving to Manitoba is estimated to be approximately $2,551,414, or an average saving of about $255,140 per year, when their contribution to Hollow Water is deducted from the overall provincial costs.

Likewise, if the federal contribution is also compared to the estimated costs the federal government would otherwise have to assume, the net savings to the federal government would be, at minimum, $1,261,317, or an minimum average saving of $126,132 per year.

To put it another way, for each dollar Manitoba spends on CHCH, it would otherwise have to spend approximately $3.00 for policing, court, institutional, probation and victims' services. For each dollar the federal government spends on CHCH, it would otherwise have to spend a minimum of $2.00 for institutional and parole services.

There are additional considerations that need to be noted. For example, the CHCH process works to wellness and these costs do not include costs that would otherwise be borne by governments to support the broader community development processes that are undertaken by CHCH.

These estimates do not take into consideration the costs associated with victimizers reoffending and victims requiring additional assistance as a result. Research indicates that the recidivism rate for sex offenses is approximately 13% and for any form of recidivism the figure rises to approximately 36%. Given that CHCH has had only 2 clients reoffend during the past 10 years (approximately 7%), one can conclude that the total amount saved by both Manitoba and the federal government are understated.

While this study uses inmate related costs to project savings to the federal government, larger savings to the federal government may occur if more communities are able to replicate the success of Hollow Water. It is not inconceivable that savings could approximate the operational cost per inmate if Aboriginal community healing processes can stem the growth of Aboriginal incarceration and institutions, like Stony Mountain, are able to reduce their overall costs as a result.



As alternative justice providers, and as chapter one describes, CHCH staff are viewed by those with whom they interact as "exceptional" or "gifted" men and women "born to do the work they do".

Collectively, CHCH brings to the community and to the justice system, a total of 58 years of experience and training in the area of sexual abuse and family violence:

At the time this study was undertaken, the following people were involved with CHCH in the capacities listed below.

Portfolio Councillor and CHCH Advisor to the group, Marcel Hardisty, is also Band Administrator of Social Development Programs.

CHCH workers comprise culturally appropriate healers:

Lena Bushie - CHCH/CFS Manager/Coordinator, Buntep grad/Brandon University

Donna Smith - Case Manager - University of Manitoba, BSW candidate, and

Six workers: Sharon Klyne, BSW candidate/communications; Jeannette Cook, certified trainer/probation; Marilyn Sinclair, probation; Bernie Hardisty, children; Ivan Williams, prison experience and Lance Wood, traditional healing .

Theresa Williams, computer trained, is staff secretary.

All workers have received intensive sexual abuse and family violence community based training; one worker received training in one on one counseling. All are eager to expand their knowledge and training in contemporary and traditional ways.

Committed CHCH support continues with: Berma Bushie, highly respected initiator and leader of CHCH who has championed, and continues to champion its efforts since inception. She is now Executive Director of Southeast Child and Family Services; Valdie Seymour, respected trainer and coordinator was also among the early initiators who gave birth to CHCH and nurtured it through its developmental stages. Valdie continues to assist with community training needs and began another training program in Hollow Water in the Fall of 2000.


Caseload to Caseload Ratio - 1 Worker for Every 11 Victimizers

CHCH workers carry a very heavy caseload. The current caseload of 115, victimizers, victims and their respective families represents a 1 to 11 ratio among victimizers and a ratio of 1 to 23 with inclusion of victim and family members. (In federal prisons, maximum security intensive treatment units, the ratio is one staff member to 1.8 offenders, a substantial difference).

In addition, according to the CHCH year end report, staff responsibilities included: group and individual healing and treatment work, case conferencing, one-on-one counseling, home therapy visits, justice system requirements, public relations and travel, inclusive of:

a total of 20 new cases: 8 sexual assault, 4 among youths and 4 among adults and 12 family violence, of whom one was a youth offender. 18 charges were laid, 2 are pending. There were two cases in which CHCH had no involvement (which means the offenders chose to go through the justice system);

143 client circles with after-circle debriefings; staff sharing circles Monday mornings, as required;

481 individual (one-on-one) sessions, varying in time from one to four hours, inclusive of counseling, anger management, inner child therapy, sweats and traditional ceremonies;

195 case conferences with other agencies and organizations (i.e. RCMP, legal aid lawyers, school personnel, treatment centers, Child and Family Services, probation and parole, HWFN Chief & Council, psychologists, NADAP and the school nurse);

173 home visits, an essential component of the work, enables clients to continue therapy when unable to attend office sessions. For some, home visits provide a protective, safe client environment;

Treatment groups: each worker facilitates one treatment group per week throughout the year, with the exception of holidays. Seven groups are held weekly from Monday through Thursday and encompass the following: Girls (9-13), Boys (9-13), Family Violence, Drumming/Young Women, Adult Women, Human Sexuality, and Young Men's Group (15-17); and

Requests for information and presentations continue to increaseNote 53. For a total of 3 full days every month (or 12X per year) the entire staff presents to visitors (Aboriginal communities, justice, students, etc.) who are interested in learning about the process.

Court Responsibilities

Court responsibilities include: report submissions to the Crown Attorney regarding pending charges of offenders by the worker responsible for a given offender; liaison with lawyers and the Crown Attorney during remand prior to sentencing, offender progress reports re: their healing journey and a fully detailed pre-sentencing report. The latter represents the collective work of those who have interacted/worked with the offender, victim, and respective families since disclosure. The report is extensively detailed and takes a considerable amount of time to complete.

Court travel: 110 trips. Depending on the offense, and age of the client, offenders are escorted to either an Adult Provincial Criminal Court, Youth Court or Family Court. A total of 110 court hearings have been attended in the past year: 91 court hearings in Pine Falls and 19 court hearings in Winnipeg.

Circle Sentencing

Sentencing circles are held every two years. Eight offenders, 3 youth and 5 adults, were sentenced in August, 2000. Details of CHCH efforts expended for the sentencing circle will be described in the Typical Offender section of this report.

Community Work

Although primary focus is on providing a safe and healthy place for children in the community and restoring balance to the victimizer, victim and representative families, CHCH also participates in strengthening the circle within the community through in-community training and participation in various activities. This function also serves to restore balance to the workers.

Participation in some of the past year's activities included: Black Island Days, enjoyed by the entire community; Christmas tree/parade; Halloween party, minor hockey, community workshops, graduations, school events, community feasts, Sacred Fire, Traditional Ceremonies, National Child Day, Pancake breakfast and visiting elders.

CHCH hosted four activities in the summer of 2000: a community information sharing fair, premiere of the NFB Hollow Water documentary, a community fast, and a circle sentencing in August.

Numerous other meetings and circles are held, not only to address specific cases, but also to strengthen community resources.

Additional Responsibilities

In-community training

Each CHCH worker contributes $10.00 from their payroll to meet the need of having an extra constable in the area.

In addition to full responsibilities and a heavy caseload, one CHCH worker handles the Fine Option Program - 26 clients have been seen. In addition, this same worker is involved with the probation program and has seen 81 clients. Her transportation costs generally exceed the limit allotted to workers in order to accommodate the requirements of this responsibility.

No set hours exist for CHCH workers. Most are open to receiving telephone calls from community members at any time, day or night, if a need exists. One worker tallied 45 community-related calls to her home in one month. The workers are there for the community.

On Call - Each of the CHCH and CFS workers rotate the responsibility of being on call for an entire weekend. When on-call, a worker must be readily available in the community to handle emergencies and disclosures. If a disclosure occurs when oncall, the worker on duty takes on the responsibility of helping and supporting the victim and victimizer throughout the entire 13 Step process, unless he/she is a family member/relative of the victimizer. Time allotment per worker for on-call responsibility is 3 days or one weekend every seven weeks, or approximately seven times a year. The mandate of CHCH is that no one is turned away when calling for help.


Sponsored by Hollow Water First Nation, two workers are completing their fourth year of a Bachelor of Social Work degree from the University of Manitoba. Aside from this, there is no allocation for CHCH professional development.


The assessment team, or A-Team as they are known, comprise all CHCH and CFS (Child and Family Services) workers who meet as a team every second Tuesday to discuss new cases and obtain current client progress on all cases. Healing needs (circles, individual counseling, treatment, psychological assessments, etc.), treatment goals, case planning and case conferencing are discussed. Outside resources, such as NNADAP, school nurse, school counselors, are openly invited to attend all meetings.

While tasks and roles differ, the team approach strengthens both groups and enhances their work in a myriad of ways. Decision-making is sharpened, community needs and understanding about how to best address them is deepened. Prevention work is accelerated, duplicated efforts are reduced, teamwork is strengthened and work efforts become more productive and cost effective. Overall, the integration of CHCH and CFS results in highly effective resource efforts that strengthens their common vision.

Although no formal designation as such exists, a number of community members spontaneously positioned the building shared by CHCH and CFS as the place to go for healing, safety and comfort. Interestingly, community members spontaneously envision the building as a " CHCH/CFS Wellness Center":

"It's a safe place. You feel safe when you go there. It's much better than having them in the band office. There are different energies here."

"You go there for healing. That's the way you think of it. It feels very comfortable. I like going there."

"They should make this a health and wellness center for us to have a place to go. They need a place to go to, a place that a child or a woman knows is safe, that they can go to."


Therapy and training go hand in hand. The transfer of training practiced by CHCH gave rise to the Community Resource Pool (CRP), community-driven people who provide the preventative piece to the healing process, and one of the key differences in CHCH work. As Berma Bushie expresses:

"It is the piece that turns lives around to become effective members of the community. One of the key differences in our work is getting the victimizer, victims and families to be community resources. That's the preventive piece that turns lives around. For them (victimizers) to know they are an effective member of the community. They are very open to sharing what they go through, and it is also a way for them to give back to the community. Other systems out there do not capture this family piece when dealing with deep-rooted problems. You must look at the whole family, not just one person."

"Each worker uses techniques to transfer their specific skills to clients to enable them to become a resource and to support each other as well as to support other community members".

The Community Resource Pool is a core group of trained support workers who assist CHCH. They are volunteers and have a high degree of interest in, or regard for, their community. They aid families in the process from disclosure to sentencing, and beyond. Receiving on-the-job-training, many CRP members are former stabilized victimizers, victims or their respective families who have gone through the 13 steps. CRP support, though much less costly, equates with that of justice support services which costs the justice system $13,000 per year, per offender on probation for a period of three years. Community Resource Pool members are carefully selected, through group consensus, by CHCH and CFS workers during offender case-planning. For victimizers, it is a way to provide restitution and re-connect with the community. Community Resource Pool members collectively carry out the healing work through their support services in a myriad of ways. This includes: supporting group interventions as circle support/aids, providing a safe haven for children (when an immediate move is necessary), administering around-the-clock care for offenders during the critical 3 day period suicide watch, transporting victimizers, victims or respective families to and from court proceedings.

Some members of the CRP offer sustaining support to, and may keep in contact with, members of a victimizer's family for many years, long after the five year mandated period of healing. In a typical year, CRP members collectively spend 500 hours a year in service to the community. Comments about the CRP include:

"They offer very valuable healing support to our community, and they're capable of doing many things."

"The local people have been trained and, in turn they're able to help their own people. You feel more comfortable with your own people than with someone you don't know. There's more truth and honesty. If its someone we know, we're more apt to be honest. We can't fool them."

"One of the offenders is helping out in the form of counseling the assessment team. He has very special information to share, and at the same time he's providing restitution to the community by actually helping the assessment team."

"They are not volunteers! People think when they hear “volunteers”, that they have a lot of free time, and nothing else to do. These are very special people, and while we can't call them para-legals or give them any titles, we train them, and they the help us, our clients and the community in very specialized ways."


Not all victims choose to work with CHCH but the CHCH mandate is to help anyone who is in need. For example, an emergency call from a distressed mother came in 11:00 p.m. She indicated that her 4-year-old daughter was sexually abused. The CHCH worker on-call immediately notified the band nurse, and other workers to seek advice and obtain appropriate services. She then investigated the situation with the band nurse. Workers always operate in 2's. The four-year-old child did not disclose. The mother was disclosing for her.

A total of 3 hours were spent investigating the situation and emergency procedures were readied. An emergency meeting of CHCH was called the next day. Nine people attended; 7 CHCH workers, 1 CFS case manager and the staff secretary.

The worker and team developed a plan, established support, followed through with CFS and Child Protection, Winnipeg. The child still did not disclose. The mother decided to take the child herself to Child and Family Services in Winnipeg . CHCH alerted appropriate services. The CFS manager in Winnipeg recommended therapy for the mother, and she was assigned to the Hollow Water psychologist for therapy. Throughout the entire procedure, CHCH acted on behalf of the child, despite the mother's intent to follow her own path. Through telephone calls, and contacts with appropriate people, CHCH put into place resources to ensure the safety of the child.

The entire time took 6 hours of one worker's time, and 2 hours of the 8 CHCH workers time for a total of 25 hours. While this work did not result in having CHCH work with the child, the workers were satisfied that they had helped the family.


It is imperative to know that the following steps are in constant process of evolving as each case comes up. This is due to the uniqueness of the victim, victimizer, families, and worker's needs. At this moment the process or steps are being reviewed and partially re-written to reflect the evolution of the process, thus the following is to be considered a draft.

Step 1: Disclosure

Disclosures come from many sources, some accidental and some intentional. They may come from a victim, a family member, a spouse, a community member who witnesses an abuse, or even the victimizer him/herself.

It is important that all members of the Resource Group be available to the community for disclosures. The person who receives a disclosure regarding the victimization of a child has three primary responsibilities:

to get as much information as possible as to the FACTS of the allegation;

to continue as "natural" ally to the person who made the disclosure; and

to pass the information to the Assessment Team Coordinator immediately.

Upon receiving this information, it is then the responsibility of the Coordinator to:

contact the RCMP a. to inform them of the disclosure; and b. to invite them to attend a meeting of the Assessment Team where the information received will be discussed and the subsequent intervention planned;

call a meeting of the Assessment Team to:

discuss the disclosure;

complete an assessment/history of the individuals and families involved; and

plan the actual intervention that will follow. This plan will identify specifically who is taking responsibility for what and when. The safety of all family/community members will be a primary factor to be taken into consideration in the details of the planned intervention.

ensure that all 13 steps of this process are followed in proper sequence (Steps 2 and 3 occur simultaneously, with priority given to step 3, protecting the child).

Step 2: Protecting the Victim/Child

The person(s) from the Assessment Team taking responsibility for assisting the victim, using whatever Resource Group members necessary, must:

involve Child & Family Services;

identify a safe home and make arrangements for the victim's stay;

validate the disclosure. Since the community will have a say in the role which the court system will play, this process can concentrate on healing rather than punishment. The victim does not have to be defensive, and consequently, the openness of the process promotes the beginning of a return to balance of the individuals involved;

take the victim to a safe home;

ensure that an ally is available to the victim;

ensure training and on-going support to the safe home; and

make whatever arrangements are necessary for the victim (e.g., medical assessment, admission to victim's/survivor's group, etc.)

Step 3: Confronting the Victimizer

Although the protection, support and healing of the victim takes priority, we believe that the major focus of dealing with sexual abuse needs to be shifted to include the victimizer, thereby also dealing with the source of the problem and beginning the process of restoring balance within the individuals, families, and community involved. The person(s) from the Assessment Team taking responsibility for assisting the victimizer should feel comfortable with alleged offender and see him/herself as a potential ally to the victimizer. It is also important that this person has already begun their own healing process. This person (confronter) using whatever Resource Group members necessary must:

approach the alleged victimizer and confront him/her with the information gained in the disclosure;

explain that the victim has been removed and will be staying in a safe home until the community can resolve the situation (The other option, if the alleged victimizer is willing, would be to "remove" the victimizer to a safe home);

explain that there is a good possibility depending upon:

  1. the severity of the offence(s); and his/her willingness to cooperate
  2. that the matter could be handled by the community, in conjunction with the court system;

make it clear that any attempt at interference with either the process or the victim will result in the community assuming a secondary role and the matter being handled primarily by the court system;

ensure that an ally is available to the alleged victimizer. This ally will have to be extremely sensitive to the potential for suicide and/or violence toward others, and offer non-threatening and non-judgmental support, without reinforcing the alleged victimizer's denial system;

inform the alleged victimizer that it will be necessary for him/her to:

  1. accept full responsibility for what has happened; and
  2. undergo a psychological assessment if he/she is going to chose the community alternative.

tell the alleged victimizer that he/she will be contacted within five days as to:

  1. what the community concludes after completing the assessment; and

what the community can offer in terms of dealing with the offences(s) in a traditional healing manner;

make whatever arrangements are necessary for the victimizer, e.g., psychological assessment, admission to victimizer's group, self awareness, etc.

Step 4: Assisting the Spouse

As with the alleged victimizer, this can be an extremely difficult time for the spouse. Denial, anger, possible suicide, and potential violence toward others are all real possibilities. The person(s) from the Assessment Team taking responsibility for assisting the spouse, using whatever Resource Group members necessary, must:

approach the spouse and present him/her with the information gained in the disclosure;

explain what has happened thus far in terms of both the victim and alleged victimizer;

explain the possibility of the matter being handled in the community, in conjunction with the court system;

ensure that an ally is available to the spouse; and

make whatever arrangements are necessary for the spouse, e.g., admission to survivors' group; self-awareness, women's therapy, etc.

Step 5: Assisting the Family/ies/the Community

In some cases the family of the victim and victimizer will be one and the same. In most cases they will be from the same community. In all cases the pain brought about by a disclosure will have a rippling effect throughout the community and many people, in both immediate and extended family/ies will be affected.

The person (s) from the Assessment Team taking responsibility for assisting the family/ies using whatever Resource Group members necessary, must:

approach appropriate members of the immediate and extended family/ies and present the information learned in the disclosure;

explain what has happened thus far;

explain the possibility of the matter being handled by the community, in conjunction with the court system;

ensure that an ally is available for all members requiring this kind of support;

make whatever arrangements are necessary for the family members, e.g., admission to survivors' group, women's therapy, self-awareness, etc.

Step 6: Meeting of Assessment Team/RCMP/Crown

This meeting will be called by the Coordinator as soon (within four days of disclosure) as the first five steps of this process have been completed. The purpose of this is to:

present all information obtained thus far;

decide how to proceed. There are three possibilities:

the facts do not support the allegation. In this case the victim would be returned to the family and the family worked with until it is back into balance;

the facts support the allegation, but for some reason (offence too serious, community resources to limited, victimizer not willing, etc.) it is most appropriate for the court system to assume the primary role; or

the facts support the allegation and the victimizer should be given the choice of proceed within the community alternative. In this case a Healing Contract* would then be drawn up for presentation to the victimizer;

review responsibilities of respective meeting participants regarding the decision as to how to proceed (who will do what, and when).

Step 7: Victimizer must Admit and Accept Responsibility

The person(s) from the Assessment Team taking responsibility for assisting the victimizer, using whatever resources necessary, approaches the victimizer, and

informs him/her of the outcome of the investigation;

explains the two primary alternatives available (community/legal; legal/community);

explain to the victimizer that, in order to restore his/her healing process, he/she must admit to the offence(s) and accept full responsibility for his/her actions. To this end, the victimizer must:

provide a voluntary statement (cautioned statement) to the RCMP outlining specifically his/her total involvement with victim(s). This statement will be made with full knowledge on the part of the victimizer that if:

the assessment team becomes aware of any victim(s);
or information not included in the statement; and/or

the victimizer refuses to comply with the community alternative procedure at any point, and/or there is any recurrence of the offence the court system will immediately be asked to assume the primary role; and

undergo a psychological assessment and agree to releasing the information obtained in this assessment to the Assessment Team.

present the Healing Contract; and

inform the victimizer that he/she has to:

make a decision as to which primary alternative will be pursued; and

inform the Assessment Team of this decision within two days. Failure to comply with the above would result in the court system assuming the primary role.

Step 8: Preparation of the Victimizer

If the victimizer admits to the allegations and is willing to accept the community alternative, he/she must then be prepared for the next step in the healing process: an appearance before a special gathering of the Resource Group, selected members of his/her family, the victim(s), and selected member of his/her/their family/ies.

This preparation would be completed by the person(s) from the Assessment Team who has/have taken responsibility for assisting the victimizer, again using whatever resources are appropriate, and would include:

an explanation of what will happen; and

what will be expected of him/her.

Step 9: Preparation of the Victim(s)

As with the victimizer, the victim(s) must be prepared for the next step in the healing process, the appearance of the victimizer before him/her/themselves, selected member of his/her/their family/ies, and the Resource Group. The victim(s) must be prepared to the point where he/she/they are at least willing to TRY to forgive the victimizer for what has happened. This preparation would be completed by the person(s) from the Assessment Team who has/have taken responsibility for assisting the victim(s), again using whatever resources are appropriate, and would include:

an explanation of what will happen; and

what will be expected of him/her/them.

Step 10: Preparation of All the Families

As with the victimizer and victim(s), selected members of the victimizer's family the victim(s) family/ies must be prepared for the next step in the healing process: the appearance of the victimizer before themselves, the victim(s), and the Resource Group. The selected members of the family/ies must be prepared to the point where they are at least willing to TRY to forgive the victimizer for what has happened. This presentation is completed by the person(s) from the Assessment Team who has taken responsibility for assisting the family/ies, again using whatever resources are appropriate, and would include:

an explanation of what will happen, and

what will be expected of them.

Step 11: The Special Gathering

Once the victimizer, the victim(s), and selected family members have been prepared, the Coordinator will arrange for the victimizer to come face-to-face with:

the Resource Group, who represent the (healing) community;

the victim(s);

selected members of the family/ies to answer for his/her misconduct.

The gathering will occur at a time and place agreed upon by all involved, and the seating arrangement will take the form of a circle.

The Special Gathering has Ten Steps

The ceremonial opening. This marks the gathering as an event of importance. Preference as to the exact nature of the opening will be given to the victimizer/victim(s) but could also include a song, a prayer, or some form of religious or traditional ceremony.

The Coordinator will address the gathering and explain its purpose as follows:

  1. to hear the details of the offence;
  2. to speak publicly to the victimizer about the offence;
  3. to look at ways of dealing with the offence that will heal all persons involved and reunite the community;
  4. to demonstrate that such behaviour is unacceptable, but that healing is possible and supported;
  5. to learn something about sexual abuse in general through an educational process, and
  6. to have all people present accept responsibility for supervising the Healing Contract.

The explanation of the offence. The Assessment Team members will then explain the offence.

The Assessment Team members will then explain the offence. The Coordinator then asks the victimizer if he/she

  1. accepts the charges as true; and
  2. is willing to participate in the proceedings. If the victimizer rejects either or both conditions, the Coordinator explains that the gathering must be brought to a close and that the court system will be asked to assume the primary role. If the victimizer accepts both conditions, the gathering can continue. It is the community's responsibility to support the action of the Coordinator, based on the offender's decision.

The Educational Process:

This part sets the stage for the rest of the proceedings. It helps to educate all the people present about the seriousness and the dynamics of the offence. It sets the emotional stage necessary for change in attitudes to occur. It is, in effect, a mini-workshop, and can include lectures, videos, and hand-outs. "Something about Amelia", a video which runs through the dynamics involved in sexual abuse and ends with the reuniting and healing of all family members will most likely be used.

The victimizer verbally accepts full responsibility for his/her action.

Now that all present have a better idea of what it is they are dealing with, the victimizer is asked by the Coordinator to accept full responsibility for the offence, without rationalization, justification, or reservation. Again, if the victimizer fully accepts the responsibility for the offence, the gathering can continue. If not, it is turned over to the court system as the primary agent. (If a break is necessary, this would be a good time. It will give people time to think about what they have learned, and to gather their thoughts about what they would like to say to the victimizer).

The Participants of the Gathering Speak

This is the heart of the traditional healing process, and allows the Community to show its concern for all involved. Here the people have a chance to speak openly to:

the victimizer, telling him/her how they feel about the offence, encouraging him/her to accept full responsibility, and offering their support for his/her healing;

the spouse, about his/her responsibility in helping in the healing process, or perhaps talking to him/her about their part in the abusive situation if it is appropriate; and

the victim (s), relieving them of any guilt they may feel, reassuring them that they are not responsible for the offence, and offering support.

When appropriate, and the victimizer, spouse, and victim(s) are willing, the idea of the family reuniting in the future (after the healing process has taken enough to ensure that such behavior will not be repeated) is encouraged and supported. Members of the group are free, if they feel that it will help in the healing process, to relate their own experiences in the past of being abused or being an abuser, and the problems that occurred as a result.

Healing Contract is Presented

At this point the Coordinator will present the Healing Contract developed in Step 6 to the whole group for their:

comments and feedback
eventual supervision

The Healing Contract contains/addresses three general areas:

some degree of punishment, but the result must enhance the community as well as the victimizer's self-esteem. This would likely take the form of community service work;

protection against further victimization. This would likely take form of restricted access to potential victims for a specified period of time;

treatment. This would likely take the form of individual counseling, attendance at support groups, etc.

If the participants of the gathering, through consensus, recommend changes in the Healing Contract, it would be the responsibility of the Coordinator to contact the RCMP and Crown with the recommendations for their approval before the changes are accepted.

In the future, after the community has progressed in its own healing, we anticipate that the Healing Contract will actually be drawn up by the participants at the gathering, rather than by the Assessment Team/RCMP/Crown. It would then be the responsibility of the Coordinator to contact the RCMP and Crown with the proposed Healing Contract, for their approval.

The victimizer publicly apologizes and accepts the Healing Contract. At the request of the Coordinator, the victimizer is now asked to:

publicly apologize to:

  1. the victimizer, accepting full responsibility for what has happened, and reassuring the victim(s) that it will not happen again;
  2. the spouse;
  3. the group-at-large.

will publicly agree to abide by the conditions of the Healing Contract, and state that he/she understands that any failure to comply with the conditions will result immediately in the court system being asked to assume the primary role.

The Ceremonial Closure.

This again marks the gathering as an event of importance. Preference as to the actual content of the ceremony will be given to the victimizer/victim.

Step 12: The Healing Contract is Implemented

It is the responsibility of the Coordinator, using whatever Resource Group members necessary, to ensure that the conditions of the Healing Contract are implemented and carried out as intended. The role of the participants of the Special Gathering in supervising the contract is essential to the healing of the victimizer, victim(s), family/ies, and community. ANY failure of the victimizer to comply with ANY conditions of the Healing Contract will result immediately in the court system being asked to assume the primary role.

Step 13: The Cleansing Ceremony

This is a ceremony that marks the completion of the Healing Contract, the restoration to balance of the victimizer, and a new beginning for all involved. The Coordinator will be responsible for arranging for ceremony at the appropriate time. The appropriate time will vary, depending upon the healing process of each individual victimizer. We do not anticipate that this would happen before at least two years from the time of the Special Gathering. The victimizer will have input into the content of the ceremony, but it will be open to the community and will likely include some form of a community feast. It is time to honor the victimizer for completing the healing contract/process. As the community continues to heal, we anticipate having some form of annual celebration to recognize in a general way the healing and cleansing of our members.

These steps are under constant revision. The latest written version is dated March 13, 1996.


Work Paper

(Pre-full Interview)


Maximizes community and lay involvement. Negotiates a “balance” between developing valid generalized knowledge and benefiting the community that is being researched


Improve research protocols by incorporating the knowledge and expertise of community members. Community and researchers collaborate in the research as equals


  1. Solidify research design
  2. Implement appropriate holistic evaluation
  3. Determine direct, significant, secondary, ancillary costs/benefits through the use of step-by-step CHCH/western justice comparisons; quantitative and qualitative exploration/HWFN records
  4. Report CHCH cost/benefits Findings in a way that reflects CHCH's philosophy, tradition, holistic beliefs and values as workers for the health and wellness of the Hollow Water community.

Our Approach:


Let's first take a look at:

Where we were, where we are now, and where we're going

Charting the CHCH Journey

1984-1986 1986 1990 1995 2000
Concept Development Resource Team Foundation The journey begins 1st Disclosure Treatment Healing Evaluation

CHCH Evaluation (Therese Report)

Cost/Benefit Analysis (not used)

Cost/Benefit Holistic Evaluation


Image Description

The graphic above shows an unbroken ring of a circles moving upwards and outwards which illustrates the outside forces impacting on the health and wellness of the Hollow Water Community. It shows History/Tradition a way of life and at the bottom of the rings with CHCH community in the spiral of rings moving up towards the issues that are defined as: Socio Political, Substance Abuse, Economic Conditions, Violence of Colonization, Time, Education/Training, Spiritual Involvement, Migration Patterns, Personal Ecology and the Population birth rate ratio of 4 to 1. It touches on the challenges faced by the community to show the process of evolution and the fact that change occurs in a spiral.

We've established who we are, what we believe and how we operate. It is a preamble that goes into the report.

1. Definition of Terms

2. Assumptions

3. Method

A Three Pronged Approach

Quantitative Qualitative Community Input Integration of Quantitative/ Qualitative
Facts/Time Frames Descriptive Use of Words
Statistics Answers why/how E
Data base Feelings, Attitudes  
Percentages Beliefs, Values M
Systematic Behaviors  
Does not offer Direction   P
Costs – Direct, Significant Secondary Offers Direction/ Actions to be taken O
Validate Low (65) Techniques: Circles W
  Dyads (Mini-circles) E
  Triads, Stories, One-on- One, Depth Interviews R
Recidivism rate in Terms of Costs/Time Costs/Benefits, Timing Derived From CHCH Work M
Data Gathering: Court Hidden Benefits, E
Agencies, RCMP, Lawyers Resulting from  
CHCH/Cost of Incarceration Community Healing N
Remand, Constables, Programs in  
Agencies, etc. Place/Training T

4. Data Collection/Who we talk with:

The community “circle”. A cross-section of the community; those with whom CHCH interacts:

5. Analysis

6. The Report: from a traditional perspective, by the people of Hollow Water



the fruits of our labor

7. Where Do We Go From Here: Changing Community Needs: Need Identification



(field-work - to obtain hard data/statistical information)


Program Overview

_____ Initial Proposals for Funding
_____ Evaluations
_____ Research Reports
_____ Quarterly Reports
_____ Operational and management reports to Band Council, directors or funding organizations

Budgets/Forecasts/Financial Statements

_____ number of people in community/community size/parameters
_____ Key: People costs - staff specific,(titles, compensation, description of duties, benefits) salaries - compensated by wage, salary or contract). If involved in other activities, amount of time spent on CHCH program (estimate)
_____ Reasonable costs of those outside the program who oversee this function should also be included (e.g., band council members)

Any of the Following:

_____ Initial budget submitted to funding organizations
_____ Operating budgets since inception
_____ Budgets and forecasts of future
_____ Annual and monthly expense analysis reports
_____ Special reports on financial affairs of program
_____ Audit reports

Normal staff complement - current staff________

Other Costs:

_____ Impact on other areas of community, such as reduced child welfare costs
_____ Improved performance at school
_____ Decrease in other crime
_____ Costs not direct to program: increased fees from specialists (therapists, psychologists, physiologists, etc.) treating abusers or victims that are covered in another program.


Thinking back about 5 years ago (1994-1995) where would you place the overall health and well being of Hollow Water between the following years listed below?

(Please put an "X" over, or circle, the number that best describes your feelings. 0 means no health or well-being and 10 means that the community has achieved a very high level of health and well-being. You can be anyplace on this scale.)

1984 –1986


In 1995? - Five Years Ago? Better? Not as good? The same?


Where is it now - 2000?


What are your reasons for giving it the rating that you did? (Explain for each of the above.)

What signs do you see that tell you our community is becoming healthier.
(Give as many signs as possible)

What if CHCH were no longer here. What would happen to the community?
(use other side of paper to complete)

PhoneNumber__________________ Age_________Male____Female___



This section provides the time/value/ activities involved in taking one typical offender through the CHCH 13 step process as input for a cost/benefit formula. The 13 steps in full detail are illustrated in Appendix A. This section uses a skeletal framework in order to address the specific needs of this section.

Profile: Typical sexual assault offense

Charges for an individual sexual assault depends on the nature of the sexual offence and a determination of the physical/emotional damage to the victim. This ranges from fondling to repeated sexual offenses over several years with considerable emotional or physical abuse to the victim. Incarceration for sexual assault is usually "medium" security for 2 to 3 years (the term of incarceration can extend up to 4 or 5 years, depending on the seriousness of the case.)

CHCH requires two years prior to sentencing to start the healing process. The first two years are intensive and involve the victimizer, the victim and respective families, and, in this case extended families. After the second year, time spent with the victimizer, on a sliding scale, is reduced almost in half. It generally takes five years in total to heal the victimizer, and it is just the beginning of healing which is a lifetime journey.

Case Profile

The following as a typical case profile where the victimizer has been charged with an individual sexual assault. The family involved is large and comprises adult parents and ten siblings (4 brothers and 6 sisters). The extended family comprises the mother and father and a total of six siblings (4 brothers and 2 sisters). In a small community, word travels quickly. Families must be advised immediately after disclosure in order to retain family confidentiality, avoid community gossip, reduce anger and family repercussions.


Disclosure 6:00 p.m.

Victimizer is compliant

  • 12-year-old child is involved. Establish victim safety-child immediately removed to relative's home
  • Worker obtains signed disclosure from victim
  • Worker alerts victimizer to sexual abuse disclosure
  • Worker obtains signed disclosure statement from victim.
  • Worker calls an emergency meeting- mobilizes CHCH and CFS (Child and Family Services) because 12 year old is involved.
  • CHCH does all the police investigative work.
1 hr. x 1 worker RCMP Contact

7:00 p.m.11:00 p.m.

  • Emergency meeting called 7 workers are mobilized
  • Constable assists; calls Powerview RCMP
  • Case Plan is developed by consensus
  • Victim's disclosure is validated CHCH takes victim's side.
  • Worker Assignments (12). victimizer, victim, respective families and extended families
Total assist time: 3 hours 4 hours x 7 workers  

11:00 p.m.- 3:30 a.m.

  • By 2's workers to assigned persons. Community Resource People and CHCH
  • Advisor called - male/family circles
4.5 hours x 12 workers  

Next Day.

  • Victimizer is confronted.
  • Assigned worker and resource person or constable takes victimizer to RCMP to make a statement. Victimizer compliant.
  • Extended family told by CHCH
  • Victimizer released on his own recognizance to be sure he wants to plead guilty (4-5 days) -to go CHCH way or Justice System. Should victimizer be in denial,
  • CHCH reconvenes in 2-4 hrs. If in denial, victimizer is arrested.
  • Suicide Watch - 3 days (until court time, 4-5 days)-Worker and CRP/or family member
  • Spouse validates victimizer's statement to ensure he's telling the truth.
  • CHCH supports spouses/parents/families

3 hours x 2 workers


1 hour x 2 workers


24 hours x 3 days x 2 workers


6 hours


RCMP takes statement

Four Month Period goes into Effect.

  • CHCH Plan is put into effect
  • Worker works daily with Victimizer, one-and one half hrs. per day, until court appearance one month away
  • Victimizer works with therapist/Medical Services
  • Psychologist sees Victim
  • Individual counseling from CHCH assigned worker
  • Circles with "whole CHCH Team" for a period of one month with

Victim (and brother/cousin)
Families of Victimizer
Families of Victim

6 Resource people were used, all have received CHCH victimizer training

1.5 hours x 30 days x 1 worker

2 hours per month x 1 worker

2 hours per month x 1 worker

1.5 – 2 hours x 1 worker

3 hours per session x 8 sessions x 7 workers

CHCH workers x 8 sessions


One month later - 1st Court Appearance

  • three workers and victimizer go to RCMP in Pine Falls . Victimizer pleads guilty and is charged. Workers present case history of client in circles. Court remands victimizer to CHCH/Hollow Water for a period of two years (it takes two years for sentencing via judicial system)
  • CHCH provides list of legal aid lawyers to work with client in court. Lawyer is apprised of the case. Crown is told. Pine Falls trip to RCMP return to Hollow Water.
7 hours x 3 workers

RCMP/Pine Falls Court Victimizer is charged


Legal Aid lawyers selected

Monthly Victimizer Progress Reports begin - 1 X per month until sentencing 1 hr. x 24 reports x 24hrs. Replaces judicial system progress reports
Supervision of Victimizer 2 hours. x 1x per week x 48-50 weeks x 1 worker  
Assessment Therapist 2 hrs., 1 therapist  
Group: Human Sexuality 2 hours - 1 x week x 48-50 weeks x 2 workers  
Therapist – individual 1 hour. per week, x 48-50 weeks, therapist  
Client is mandated not to drink or use drugs, other wise he is turned over to A.A., band office or NNADAP, covered by Medical Services    
CHCH training of lawyers 3 hours x 3 workers Training during court recess

Sweats - Victimizer may request a sweat as part of his healing protocol. This is the victimizer's choice to enable him to become "comfortable" in his own healing process, and how he best heals.

Worker attends sweats first couple of times until a sense of trust is obtained.

1 x per week x 48 – 50 weeks

4 hours x 2 sweats x 1 worker


Victim – Worker is assigned to victim, who is not mandated to participate. CHCH provides the following for the victim:

  • Individual counseling/CHCH
  • Circles, with "team", with foster Parents

(time varies according to amount of time victim wants to continue)

1-2 hours once a week for 4 weeks x 1 worker

3 hours once a month for 12 months x 7 workers.


  • Circles with victim's family
  • Circles, 2 brothers
  • Circles with sisters, adopted mom
  • School/child psychologist assessment (based on client needs)
  • Circles, victim and victimizer

3 hours once a month x 1 worker

3 hours once a month x 1 worker

3 hours once a month x 1 worker

1 hour

3 hours x 7 workers (determined by victim's readiness)


Pre-Sentencing Report (also called Pre-deposition report)

All CHCH workers start the Court Report, then bring it together as a group

Secretary's work


8 hours a day for 1 week

CHCH replaces probation officer's pre-sentence report

Special Gathering/Sentencing Circle

Gathering Held in Hollow Water
Anyone who wants to may participate

Medicine person is asked to help

  • Sweats - sunrise ceremony
  • Community Sentencing
  • Sentencing Circle (inner circle-anyone who wants to speak sits in the inner circle; outer circle, observers- All workers attend
    • Statement- why they're there
    • Address the Victim
    • Address the Victimizer
    • Determine what should happen
  • Judge/Crown gives sentence (for each victimizer present)
    • 3 years probation is mandatory
    • must see probation officer 1 x mo.
    • probation order is usually 100- 150 community hours
    • restitution/conditions – determined by each person's talents or occupation (if fisherman, puts in the nets, supplies elders, single mothers with fish. "gives back to the community"

Held 4 days before court

2 days for 7 workers

Court, judge and lawyers, spend 2 days in Hollow Water

Other Preparation

  • Community invitation
  • Shopping - gather cedar, sage, give tobacco ,buy 4 colors and bind in the building, North-East-South-West
  • Hire an Outside Cook - $1500.00
3 days for all 7 workers.  

FOLLOW THROUGH ( Healing the victimizer through a 5-year process)

CHCH support time decreases down through the five year process. Amount of time spent is determined by victimizer's needs, the healing work he has done, how he has re-integrated into the community, and the sense of trust that the worker has developed in having the victimizer follow through on his contract.

Years 2-3

2 hours per circle with 2 or more workers x 30 circles each year

Assigned worker continues to do individual counseling and circles

Years 3-4

2 hours per circle with 2 or more workers x 20 circles each year (depends on victimizer's accountability)

Years 4-5

2 hours per circle for 2 or more workers x 15-20 circles each year

Phone contacts: frequent calls are made to workers/workers also call victimizers 1 worker with caseload of 34 reported 45 calls in 2 month.  


In conclusion, it becomes patently clear that the workload of CHCH workers is monumental. CHCH has clearly demonstrated its ability to bring resourceful, productive people back into the community, and to achieve a low recidivism rate throughout its history. It is critical that the healed nucleus in the community be sustained and fully supported. When people live up to their responsibilities, are accountable and have an excellent track record; when Correctional Service Canada admittedly reports that Aboriginal communities work more effectively with offenders, and proof exists regarding the dollar value that CHCH alone brings to the table, should there not be a responsibility to live up to the partnership, to give the necessary funding and tools Hollow Water needs. The result can only be "greater bang for the bucks" over time. CHCH has not received an increase in funding for a number of years. They must continually re-negotiate to achieve the same amount of dollars. Their monumental workload and the need to ensure that core healing continues, the lack of sufficient funds, severely hampers the potential of CHCH expansion. They cannot plan long-term, nor can they put into place additional programs or an infrastructure that would help young sexual offenders in Hollow Water and other Aboriginal communities. With a proven track record, it's leadership role and as an icon to Aboriginal communities and the justice system, should they not be more strongly supported, not only to sustain their core work, but also to move it forward in ways that would benefit the justice system and Aboriginal communities at large.

In terms of future directions, Hollow Water/ CHCH equity (-- what Hollow Water and CHCH stand for--) clearly centers on healing. Holistic healing involves all four dimensions, as we know, the spiritual, mental, physical and emotional. Therefore, to more completely fulfill its leadership role and to achieve full balance or P'madaziwin, multi-source funding appears necessary to further empower the CHCH healing model. It points to a multi-agency approach to solving community problems (Indian Affairs, Health Canada, AHF and various other agencies, provincial and federal) in order to contribute holistically, to the kind of resources needed. Some of the areas of immediate need centered on the following:

The need for a spiritual bush camp directed to youth/families. Results of the interviews indicate that when Native young people come to recognize "who they are", "their place in Creation", "what it means to be Anishnabe", and the meaning of the Seven Sacred Teachings, a change takes place. Pride and a sense of identity results.

It is important, if not critical, that funding be appropriated for CHCH to put a young sexual offender treatment center into place. The CHCH manager repeatedly points out that continuous calls come in requesting this kind of treatment, and that nothing currently exists in the area to address young sexual offender treatment. Based on the anticipated growing need in the next 10 years, and CHCH's proven track record and acknowledged skills, funding a treatment infrastructure and providing additional training for CHCH workers would seem crucial to Corrections Canada, particularly within the next ten year time span..

A community "vision" facilitated by a trained, accomplished person is recommended to enable each of the community members to be focussed and to work together in the same direction. This gives the community more power, and action to accomplish a great deal more together. This is especially needed in the area of economic development, and is necessary to avoid a fragmentation of community efforts.

Core funding for a period of at least 3 years at a higher level than is currently received is necessary. This would enable long term planning to be put into effect, enable the hiring of one or two more workers to more deeply focus on youth and on core healing requirements. The workload of CHCH is monumental. Some serious consideration must be given to the workload ofthese workers, and to additional training needs.

Computerization - for better record keeping is needed. Healers, as a rule, are not interested in records; they're interested in people. However, the CHCH secretary is computer literate and open to new learning. In a participatory way, the project researchers helped CHCH frame out typical offender files, and put other record-keeping aspects into place as a "start". With a little help, teaching and monitoring, effective record keeping can be achieved, simplified and maintained.

Finally, in closing, David Cayley'sNote 54 words remain:

" There is…no government willing to invest adequate resources in designing and developing the infrastructure and training necessary to reap the full potential of community justice. This will change only if community justice comes to be seen as a true alternative to existing practice in many cases, not just as a marginal supplement to the established way of doing things. This requires relevant comparisons that factor in both the full benefit of community justice in preventing crime and building social morale and the full cost that the formal crime control industry imposes through lengthy incarcerations, broken families, and the cycle of violence that prison perpetuates. For these comparisons to be made, Stuart says, "vastly improved justice information is necessary. Otherwise, the public will remain unable to evaluate what formal justice systems and community based alternatives offer, and thereby what use each can serve."



There has been a steady increase in requests for Community Holistic Circle Healing information and presentations in the past four years. Those primarily responsible for making presentations about Hollow Water, to other reserves, colleges and universities, the justice system, and governments/leaders interested in alternative justice continues to center on Marcelle Hardisty, CHCH Advisor, Berma Bushie, Executive Director of SouthEast Child and Family Services, and former CHCH manager, Jeannette Cook, CHCH staff counselor and trainer, and Donna Smith, CHCH case manager.

Activity 1996 1997 1998 1999
Calls for Information/Mailed Packages 10 59 92 102
Presentations at Hollow Water 6 3 5 12
Presentations outside of Hollow Water 7 8 8 9
Conferences Attended* 2 2 2 2

Request Examples: Information Sent/Presentations Given (not in alphabetical order)

University of Manitoba, Native Studies programs, justice and healing programs.
Chippewas of the Thames First Nation
Big Cove Indian Child and Family Services
Onion Lake Reserve, Saskatchewan
Aboriginal Sex Offender Corrections & Treatment, Winnipeg,
Aboriginal Justice, Banff, Alberta Saskatchewan Wellness for Men
Elders: Blue Quills College, Alberta
Correctional Services of Canada Aboriginal Programs
"Towards the World Change" Conference, Crime Prevention Practitioners B.C
Alberta Indian Health Care Committee
CBC National News CHCH Documentary
Frog Lake First Nation Youth Justice, RCMP, Community
Biidaaban/Mnjikaning Community Healing Model, Minjikaning, Ontario (Rama)
Sandy Lake First Nation Justice System Mediator Justice Program
Clinical Director, Canim Lake Band, Family Violence Program
Winnipeg Education Center, University of Winnipeg
Chief Probation Officer, Edmonton, Alberta
Aboriginal Youth Conference, Winnipeg
Yukon Justice Community Corrections Services Branch
University of Montreal, School of Criminology
Department of Justice, Government of North West Territories
Criminal Justice/NCCD Collection, Rutgers University, Newark, New Jersey
Commission Episcopal d'Action, Lima, Peru

*No provision exists for funding workshops or Conferences for CHCH staff. Costs are CHCH's personal responsibility making conferences and workshops "unaffordable".


Information drawn from CHCH Victimizer Files

Total Number of Victimizers processed by CHCH , 1987 2000 108
Date of Disclosure/Year Charged H.W. Total: 91
Total Sentenced: 77
Current Pending/Awaiting Sentence: 3 youths; 1 adult 9
Charges Stayed 2
Acquitted/Insufficient Evidence 2
Sentencing date of one Victimizer missing 1
Hollow Water Victimizers confronted, but not charged (Received Counseling/Treatment from CHCH) 7
Clients from other reserves coming to CHCH for treatment (Bloodvein, Bisseft, Fort Alex, Little Black River, Moose Lake) 7
Deceased Victimizers 3

Of the 91 men and women charged, younger males dominated. Sixty were under the age of 35; 31 were between the ages of 45-65; 7 were female; 84 were male.

Total charged: 91
Under 18 (8)
18-24 (18)
25-34 (34)
35-44 (10)
45-54 (10)
55-64 (4)
65+ (7)

Victimizers who disclosed/were charged 1987-2000 – (91)

1987 1987 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000
2 4 4 5 8 2 10 9 9 7 10 13 7 1

Total sentenced 1989 – 2000 – (77)

1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000
5 2 4 4 7 11 12 4 7 12 7 2
Total who recidivated – (2) or under 1% of 108 clients

Note: Youth were defined as under 18. 3 were charged with sexual assault; 2 with assault/ mischief X 5; 3 with any of the following: theft, multiple housebreaks, liquor consumption under 18.


Average annual cost of incarcerating an offender — $61,000 per offender

Average annual cost of supervising an offender on parole or statutory release — $13,000 per offender

Aboriginal people represent approximately 15% of the federal offender population but only 3% of the general population in Canada. The proportion of Aboriginal people is greater (17.2%) in penitentiary than under supervision in the community (10.7%)

  Total males incarcerated in 1998 1999
(12 532)
Total Aboriginal inmate population
(2 203)
  Non Aboriginal % Aboriginal %
Age 20 34 6,100 49 1,325 60
Serving a 1st time penitentiary sentence 6,489 52 1,184 59
Length of sentence        
Under three years 2,241 18 469 21
3-6 years 3,832 31 783 36
6-10 years 2,066 16 343 16
10+ years 1,866 15 231 10
Life or indeterminate 2,527 20 377 17
Murder- first degree 636 5 83 4
Murder- second degree 1,593 13 244 11
Schedule I (violence) 8,245 66 1,632 74
Schedule 11 (drugs) 1,498 12 103 5
Non-scheduled (non violent) 1,742 14 271 12
Sexual Offenses 2,223 18 469 21




  1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
Age Group ST OB Total ST OB Total ST OB Total ST NS OB Total ST NS OB Total
Under 1 23 0 23 19 3 22 18 3 21 22 1 6 29 27 0 5 32
1 – 4 50 0 50 58 17 75 73 16 89 72 1 19 92 85 1 16 102
5 – 19 188 0 188 178 50 228 194 56 250 194 9 53 256 199 4 60 263
20 – 64 288 35 323 248 50 298 255 73 328 259 43 36 338 274 41 39 354
65 + 17 0 17 18 0 18 19 1 20 21 0 0 21 20 1 0 21
  566 35 601 521 120 641 559 149 708 568 54 114 736 605 47 120 772



Image Description

The image above shows the population statistics for the one year period from January 1, 1999 to December 31, 1999 in a graph that uses the 1999 column numbers from the previous chart.


Approximately 350 students from the communities of Seymourville, Manigotagan, Hollow Water First Nation and Agaming attend Wanipigow School. Nine representatives represent the four communities:

Hollow Water - 4 representatives
Seymourville - 2 reps. – Metis and non-Metis, some Status
Manigotogan - 2 reps. – Cottagers, non-Aboriginal/Aboriginal
Agaming - 1 rep. – Metis and non-Metis

There are local committees as well, comprised of elected members who work in conjunction with the area Superintendent and school Principal, concerning school administration and operating issues

School Staff – includes special education and counseling staff in order to provide a wide range of educational resources to children

Athletics – students actively train and participate in Frontier games. As well, Wanipigow School has been host to a student exchange program with a suburban Winnipeg school and is one but two First Nation schools on the “Our Home” web site. The school is a community school, where the building and its resources serve as both an educational institution as well as a community resource.

Close to 30% of the respondents have some post-secondary training (higher than the national average).* The 1991 Aboriginal Peoples Survey indicated a growing trend toward higher education. Except for post-secondary education, the 1991 Census Canada figures show that Hollow Water residents tended to be equally or better educated than the average Manitoban or Canadian.

  % with less than Grade 9 % with Grade 12 % with post-secondary
CANADA 13.9 39 26.3
MANITOBA 14.8 41.7 22.6
HOLLOW WATER 26.9 50 21.2

1991 Census Canada

*HWHWS, 1998, Hollow Water Key Agent Study


Statement of Revenue and Expenditures for the year ending March 31, 2000

  Actual Budget Variance 1999
Revenues 263,177 282,177 (19,000) 282,064
Coordinator 16,341 32,000 15,659 20,881
Secretary 23,000 23,000 0 19,134
Workers 158,707 150,000 (8,707) 178,209
Benefits 30,078 32,277 2,199 32,937
Travel 12,542 12,000 (542) 12,746
Rent 11,000 12,000 (1,000) 11,000
Telephone 10,000 22,900 12,900 12,000
Other 8,630 0 (8,630) 9,301
Total Expenditures 270,298 282,177 11,879 296,208
Surplus (Deficit) (7,1211) (7,121) 0 (14,144)

Copied from the audited Hollow Water Accounts prepared by the accounting firm of Hall, Mogat, Public Accountants.


The CHCH program is not a separately incorporated entity, but operates as a separate department of the Hollow Water First Nation.

This program is included in the Hollow Water First nation consolidated financial statement at March 31,2000.


Male Victimizers

5 Dec 46 1987 Sexual Assault (2) 1989
6 May 1977 1998 Assault-Family Violence 1998
8 Mar 1966 1992 Sexual Assault 1995
9 Sept. 1956 1997 Sexual Assault 1998
10 Oct. 1959 1998 Assault-Family Violence 2000
12 Sept. 1975 1994 Assault 1995
13 Aug 1974 1993 Assault 1993
14 Sept. 1974 1995 Assault 1996
15 Dec. 1979 1997 Assault (2) 1997
16 Jul. 1957 1997 Assault 1997
17 Aug 1932 1991 Sexual Assault 1994
19 Nov. 1970 1998 Assault-Family Violence 1999
20 Oct. 1945 1997 Sexual Assault Pending
21 Jul. 1971 1989 Manslaughter 1990
23 Aug 1967 1997 Assault-Family Violence 1998
26 Dec. 1959 1995 Sexual Assault 1997
28 Mar 1940 1993 Sexual Assault (2) 1994
29 Jun. 1960 1994 Sexual Assault (stayed) 1996
30 Jun. 1971 1995 Assault 1995
32 Nov. 1967 1997 Breach of Probation 1998
33 Feb. 1972 1996 Assault-Family Violence 1998
34 Jun. 1965 1997 Assault (2) 1998
35 Jun. 1971 1994 Break and Enter 1995
37 May 1966 1996 Sexual Assault 1997
40 Jul. 1963 1993 Sexual Assault 1994
41 Jul. 1954 1991 Sexual Assault (5) Sex. Intercourse.(3) 1994
42 Apr. 1967 1995 Assault with weapon 1995
43 Jan. 1969 1990 Incest 1991
44 Apr. 1949 1989 Sexual Assault 1992
46 Apr. 1973 1995 Assault with Weapon 1995
47 Aug 1979 1998 Causing Bodily Harm 1998
50 Jan. 1971 1995 Assault 1995
51 Mar1981 1999 Break and Enter (2) Pending
52 Dec. 1979 1999 Sexual Assault Pending
53 Dec. 1946 1988 Sexual Assault 1991
54 Jun. 1964 1994 Assault (2) 1995
55 Aug 1964 1994 Assault 1994
56 Apr. 1949 1991 Sexual Assault 1992
57 Apr. 1927 1990 Sexual Assault 1990
58 Feb. 1928 1998 Assault Pending
59 Nov. 1959 1998 Assault 1999
61 May 1926 1993 Gross Indecency, Indecent Assault 1993
62 Nov. 1967 1993 Sexual Assault 1994
63 Jan. 1979 1999 Assault Pending
64 Nov. 1966 1996 Assault 1997
65 Nov. 1966 1993 Sexual Assault (2) 1995
66 Apr. 1989 1989 Sexual Assault 1992
68 Jun. 1962 1991 Sexual Assault Stayed
69 Mar1943 1988 Sexual Assault Acquitted
70 Sep 1933 1993 Assault 1993
71 Oct. 1969 1990 Sexual Assault 1991
72 Oct. 1974 1994 Assault (2) 1994
73 Mar1970 1990 Sexual Assault Discharged
74 May 1975 1997 Assault (2) Pending
76 Apr. 1947 1993 Sexual Assault (6) Sexual Touch.(5) 1994
77 Jul. 1975 1996 Sexual Assault 1996
79 Mar1966 1993 Assault-Family Violence 1993
81 Nov. 1963 1991 Assault-Family Violence 1992
83 Oct. 1947 1984-1994 Sexual Assault, Interference, Exploitation, incest 1994
84 Oct. 1974 1995 Assault 1995
86 Oct. 1954 1988 Sexual Assault 1989
87 Jul. 1976 1996 Robbery (2) Assault (4) 1997
88 Jul. 1976 1994 Assault 1996
89 Feb. 1977 1995-1996 Theft, Fail to Comply with Probation 2000
90 Nov. 1970 1988 Assault 1999

Note: Names have been removed to maintain confidentiality.


Female Victimizers

1 Jan 1970 1991,1993 Assault, Bodily Harm 1995
24 Feb. 1969 1990

Failure to Provide Nec. Of Life

31 Feb. 1972 1996 Sexual Assault 1998
36 May 1953 1991 Murder 2nd Degree 1993
38 Apr. 1959 1991 Sexual Assault (2) 1993
67 May. 1976 1996 Assault 1997
78 Nov. 1969 1993 Bodily Harm 1994

Note: Names have been removed to maintain confidentiality.


Young Offenders

2 M Feb 1983 1998 Liquor, Under Age 1998
3 M Mar 1982 1988 Theft 1999


Aug 1983 1998-1999 Theft (5) Breach (2) 1998, 1999
7 M Dec. 1972 1989 Sexual Assault 1989
11 M May 1985 1999 Sexual Assault Pending
18 M Apr. 1972 1988 Sexual Assault 1989
22 M Jun 1981 1998 (2) Theft, Fail to Appear 1999
25 M Apr. 1983 1997 Sexual Assault 1998
27 M Mar 1982 1995 Assault (2) 1995
39 M Dec. 1978 1992 Sexual Assault 1994
45 M Feb. 1985 1999 Sexual Assault Pending
48 M Sept. 1982 1998 Assault 1998
49 M Apr. 1984 1999 Theft 1999
60 M Dec. 1980 1997 Sexual Assault 1999
75 M Jan. 1978 1994 Assault 1996
80 M Jan. 1986 1998 Assault (2) Mischief S/O
82 M Nov. 1971 1987 Sexual Assault 1991
85 M Mar 1985 2000 Assault (5) Pending
91 M Feb. 1983 1999-2000 Liquor Under Age (2) 1999-2000

Note: Names have been removed to maintain confidentiality.

SCHEDULE C Estimated Cost of Justice System (Pre-Incarceration)

Item Cost
Apprehension (costs associated with initial complaint cofinement) $1,500
Investigation, trial preparation, etc. 2,000
Initial Court Appearance


Remand 3,000
Trial (Prosecutor, legal aid, court costs, transportation, etc.) 12,000
Total $19,500


Bateson, G. (1979). Mind and Nature, A Necessary Unity. New York: Bantam. 166 pp.

Blanchard, G. (1997). Aboriginal Canadian Innovations in the Treatment of Sexual Violence. Hollow Water: Personal Report. 7pp.

Bopp, J., M. Bopp. (1997). Responding to Sexual Abuse: Developing a Community- Based Sexual Abuse Response Team in Aboriginal Communities. Solicitor General of Canada: Ottawa. Aboriginal Peoples Collection, Technical Series. 313 pp.

Bushie, B. (1997). Berma Bushie: A Personal Journey. In the Four Circles of Hollow Water. Pp. 107-114

____ (1997). CHCH Reflections. In The Four Circles of Hollow Water. Pp. 115-129

____ (1999). Community Holistic Circle Healing: A Community Approach. In Building Strong Partnerships: For Restorative Practices. Vermont Department of Corrections, Burlington. Pp. 59-71

Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics. (2000). “Adult Correctional Service in Canada”. Pg. 19. Table: Average Daily Cost of Offenders in Provincial/Territorial Custody.

Cayley, D. (1998). The Expanding Prison: The Crisis in Crime and Punishment and the Search for Alternatives. House of Anansi Press: Toronto. x-405 pp.

Community Holistic Circle Healing. (1993). Position on Incarceration. 6 pp.

____ (1995). Protocol for Manitoba Department of Justice Support for the Community Approach of the Hollow Water Community Holistic Circle Healing. 3 pp.

____ (1996). The Sentencing Circle. 11 pp.

____ (1996). The 13 Steps. 11 pp.

____ (1997). Community Holistic Circle Healing: An Approach. 5pp.

____ (1997). History. 5 pp.

____ Year-end Report 1999-2000. Hollow Water: June 2000. 14 pp.

Correctional Service of Canada. Basic Facts About Federal Corrections. Access on the World Wide Web, at address: http://www.csccc.gc.ca/tect/faits/facts07-04_e.shtml#3.

Dickie, B.E. (1994). A Question of Justice. Feature Length Film Commentary. National Film Board: Winnipeg. 11 pp.

Hendrick, D. (1999). Youth court statistics 1997-1998 highlights. Juristat.. p.8

Lajeunesse, T. (1996). Evaluation of Community Holistic Healing: Hollow Water First Nation. Volume 1, Final Report, v-220 pp. Appendices to the Draft Final Report. Volume 2, 200 pp. Submitted to the Solicitor General.

Marshall, W. (1997). Treatment of Sexual Offenders: Current Approaches with Non- Aboriginals and Their Relevance for Aboriginal Offenders. In The Four Circles of Hollow Water. Pp.50-74.

Mendel, R., S. Halperin. Less Hype, More Help: Reducing Juvenile Crime, What Works – and What Doesn't. Washington D.C.: American Youth Policy Forum. Press Release, 14 June 00. 5 pp.

Oates, L. (1992). Native Treatment Programs. Terrace BC: Circle of Harmony Healing Society. 104 pp.

Polanyi, M., H. Prosch. (1975). Truth in myths. Cross Currents, Summer, pp. 149-162

Roberts, J & Grimes, C. (2000). Adult Criminal Court Statistics, 1998/99. Juristat. Statistics Canada. P. 14. Table. 6

Ross, R. (1992). Dancing with a Ghost: Exploring Indian Reality. Markham, ON: Octopus Group Publishing, xvi-195 pp.

____ (1993). A Discussion Paper: Dueling Paradigms? Western Criminal Justice versus Aboriginal Community Healing. Aboriginal Justice Directorate: Toronto. 32 pp.

Sivell-Ferri, C. (1997). Looking Out: Worldview. In the Four Circles of Hollow Water. Pp. 14-49

____ (1997). The Victim's Circle: Sexual Assault and Traumatization in an Ojibwa Community. In The Four Circles of Hollow Water. Pp. 75-107.

Solicitor General (1997). The Four Circles of Hollow Water. Ottawa, Aboriginal Peoples Collection. 151 pp.

Statistics Canada (1999). Sex offenders, Juristat. P. 8

Taylor-Henley, S., E. Hill. (1990). Treatment & Healing: An Evaluation – Community Holistic Circle Healing. Hollow Water. 51 pp.

Tripartite Task Group on Social Services. Community Care: Toward Indian Control of Indian Social Services. The Problem. Ontario Social Services Review: Phase II. Ministry of Social Services: Toronto, 1980. Pp. 8-14

Wade, A. (1995). Resistance Knowledge: Therapy with Aboriginal Person Who have Experienced Violence. pp. 167-206. In Stephenson, P., et al. (Eds). A Persistent Spirit: Towards Understanding Aboriginal Health in British Columbia. Canadian Western Geographical Series Volume 31. University of Victoria Press.

Wanipigow Resource Group. (1992). Down to the Nitty-Gritty: A Final Report on the Wanipigow S.A.F.E. (Self-Awareness For Everyone) Program. Hollow Water: Wanipigow. 24 pp.


  1. 1

    (Hopkins, 1985; cited in Gabel, D.;1995).

  2. 2

    $240,000 represents an average income for CHCH; the actual annual income ranges between $200,000 and $300,000 for any specific year of operation.

  3. 3

    inmate related costs are reported, which reflect the cost of adding an offender to a prison that exists - extra funds would not be made available for the costs of prison management, but rather those costs that are specific to the individual inmate; inmate pay, canteen, clothing, food services, cleaning, health care and education. The operational costs are those that incorporate all expenditures in the institution, including management. Neither the inmate related costs nor the operational costs reflect the expense of Regional Head Quarters, nor National Head Quarters administration.

  4. 4

    Smith SE, William DG, Johnson NA. Nurtured by knowledge: learning to do participatory action-research. New York: Apex Press, 1997.

  5. 5

    BMJ Psychiatry Link, 1999; 319: 774-778 (18 September): on-line resource for practicing psychiatrists, http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/319 (7217): 774

  6. 6

    From the NFB Film “To Walk with Dignity” by Duke Redbird

  7. 7

    For a detailed analysis of the process, see the 1980 Tripartite Task Group on Social Services (Reference)

  8. 8

    See Bopp & Bopp, Blanchard, Bushie, Lajeunesse, Marshall, Ross, Sivell-Ferri, Taylor-Henley, Freeman & Richards

  9. 9

    For a discussion of these concepts, refer to “The Four Circles of Hollow Water”

  10. 10

    Initial staff training began in Alkali Lake B.C. Subsequently, C. Azevedo provided on-site training workshops based on psychologist L. Oates' publications regarding culture-based programming for sexual abusers. Certification was obtained through provincial Manpower Careers program.

  11. 11

    “The Four Circles of Hollow Water” page 88

  12. 12

    G. Blanchard (1997) Aboriginal Canadian Innovations in the Treatment of Sexual Violence; p. 3

  13. 13

    R. Ross (1993), A Discussion Paper: Dueling Paradigms? Western Criminal Justice versus Aboriginal Community Healing. Aboriginal Justice Directorate. P. 1

  14. 14

    Justice Murray Sinclair's full commentary may be found in Appendix B of this report. Bulleted comments are highlighted on page 2.

  15. 15

    Solicitor General (1997). The Four Circles of Hollow Water. Ottawa, Aboriginal Peoples Collection, p. 2.

  16. 16

    Oates, L. (1992) Native Treatment Programs, Terrace, B.C., p. 72.

  17. 17

    George Demoissie, Crown Attorney, Manitoba, 2000.

  18. 18

    Globe and Mail article, April 1997, Judge Murray Sinclair

  19. 19

    Appendix C. Master List, Offenders Case Compilation

  20. 20

    focus and intention is actually quantum physics which enables the spiritual energy to take over. e.g. particle acceleration

  21. 21

    some details in this verbatim have been changed to protect the anonymity of the individual.

  22. 22

    Population Statistics- (HWSHW) SERDC membership office, Appendix C.

  23. 23

    Correctional Population Growth Report (2000)

  24. 24

    David Cayley, The Expanding Prison, The Crises in Crime and Punishment, pp. 191-192.

  25. 25

    Appendix D. Hollow Water Key Agent Survey, 1998- communities of Seymourville, Manigotaga, Little Black River FN, Hollow Water FN and Agaming attend Wanipigow School administered by Frontier School Division: Census Canada, 1991; Hollow Water Needs Assessment, 1998, pg.35.

  26. 26

    Eileen Masse (2000) A Link Between Healing and Headstart (Unpublished). Solicitor General Canada. p. 12

  27. 27

    April 28,2000 report issued on Fight Crime. Invest in Kids, a 700 member bipartisan coalition of police chiefs, sheriffs and crime victims. The study compared children in and out of day care programs in rural, suburban and urban areas in the U.S. The research involved 1000 children, ages 3-4 in Day Care.

  28. 28

    Population statistics - SERDC membership office -HW State of Health Survey Results, pp 6-11; p.20: Population Statistics Chart/Level of Education

  29. 29

    Appendix D.

  30. 30

    The State of Health in Hollow Water First Nation – Top Ten Health Problems in the Community. Report of Survey Results, Key Agent Study, pp. 30-34.

  31. 31

    The State of Health in Hollow Water First Nation- Report of the Survey Results and Data Analysis, pp 90-92

  32. 32

    Questionnaire Design, Appendix A.

  33. 33

    the verbatim transcript has been edited to protect the identity of the person.

  34. 34

    The figure of $10.00 / hour was derived through researching other agencies/funding sources that recognize volunteer work as “in kind” fund raising. For example, the Alberta Provincial government (through the Wild Rose Foundation) recognizes volunteer hours as “matched funding”, at $10.00 / volunteer hour.

  35. 35

    The assault category includes a variety of similar criminal charges such as common assault, family violence, assault with a weapon, aggravated assault.

  36. 36

    The sexual assault category groups together charges such as incest, gross indecency, sexual touching, sexual interference and sexual exploitation.

  37. 37

    The loss of life category includes one conviction of second degree murder, one of manslaughter and one of failure to provide the necessities of life.

  38. 38

    The other offences category includes three offenders who passed away after their convictions but before treatment was completed by CHCH.

  39. 39

    Information provided by the Department of the Solicitor General of Canada. 66% is two thirds of the sentence, at which point the offender is eligible for statutory release.

  40. 40

    This number reflects the CSC standard for inmate related costs for the addition of one inmate (man or woman) to an existing institution in 1997 - 1998.

  41. 41

    Correctional Service of Canada. Basic Facts About Federal Corrections. Access on the World Wide Web, at address: http://www.csc-scc.gc.ca/text/faits/facts07-04_e.shtml#3

  42. 42

    Correctional Service of Canada. Basic Facts About Federal Corrections. Access on the World Wide Web, at address: http://www.csc-scc.gc.ca/text/faits/facts07-04_e.shtml#3.

  43. 43

    This number reflects the CSC standard for inmate related costs for the addition of one inmate (man or woman) to an existing institution in 1997 - 1998.

  44. 44

    Correctional Service of Canada. Basic Facts About Federal Corrections. Access on the World Wide Web, at address: http://www.csc-scc.gc.ca/text/faits/facts07-04_e.shtml#3.

  45. 45

    This number reflects the assumptions: first, that the prosecution for these crimes would pursue an indictable offence and that the sentence would be incarceration for those offences. Statistic cited from: Roberts, J & Grimes, C. (2000). Adult Criminal Court Statistics, 1998 / 99. Juristat. Statistics Canada. P. 14. Table. 6

  46. 46

    Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics. (2000) . "Adult Correctional Services in Canada". Pg 19. Table: Average Daily Cost of Offenders in Provincial / Territorial Custody. Note: The above-cited table indicates that the Manitoba cost per inmate per day is $89.86. For the entire year, the cost is $89.86 X 365 = $32,798.90

  47. 47

    Hendrick, D. (1999). Youth court statistics 1997-1998 highlights. Juristat.. p.8

  48. 48

    In consultation with probation officer, the average length of probation for young offenders who have received custody time is 1 year, except for more serious offences, including sexual assault and murder/manslaughter.

  49. 49

    Statistics Canada (1999) Sex offenders, Juristat. P. 8

  50. 50

    Statistics Canada (1999). Sex offenders. Juristat. P. 8.

  51. 51

    Hendrick, D. (1999). Youth court statistics 1887-1998 highlights. Jurisat. P.8

  52. 52

    Other charges include liquor related offences, which can result in community service hours. For this purpose, they will not be reflected in the custodial or community supervision categories.

  53. 53

    See Appendix C.

  54. 54

    David Cayley, The Expanding Prison, page 191

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