A transformation is underway at Country Heritage Park to create a space for Indigenous healing, wellness, culture and education.
The local indigenous organization Grandmother’s Voice is leading the project on Property of chemin Tremaine, with a healing and medicine garden already well advanced and plans for a wellness center are in the works.
The garden will serve as a “living monument” to missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, said Grandmother’s Voice co-founder Jody Harbor.
It was designed by Grandma Renee Thomas-Hill and Miinikaan Innovation and Design and features a variety of plantings including native tobacco, white prairie sage, sweet grass, white cedar, a variety of berries and more.
The garden features cedar posts from the Crawford Lake Conservation Area, where they once stood like a palisade around the reconstructed 15th-century longhouse village.
It is hoped that an Indigenous-run community garden can also be created at Country Heritage Park as pandemic restrictions begin to lift.
“Our idea is to create food security,” Harbor said.
On the wellness center side, the group says their vision is to provide alternative treatments to all people in a space designed to heal body, mind, soul and spirit while connecting to Earth.
“The wellness center will have everything based on indigenous ways of being, which relate to the land and mother earth,” Harbor explained. “It’s about being in community, connecting to culture and being well.”
The project kicked off earlier this year after Country Heritage Park CEO Jamie Reaume contacted Grandmother’s Voice for help in establishing an Indigenous Healing Garden and Wellness Center on the property.
Since then, Grandmother’s Voice has worked with various other Indigenous organizations, Sustainable Milton, Conservation Halton and many more to make this vision a reality, with Anishnabeg Outreach donating medicine for the garden.
Despite the pandemic, the past year has been a busy one for Grandmother’s Voice, which has gained attention across the country with its online lecture series on Indigenous culture.
For more details, visit grandmothersvoice.com.