Medicine Wheel: Healing of Addictions

The difficult journey into addiction and back to normal productive life is a common story throughout North America, for both native, and non-native people. But Canadian Aboriginal Catholics are finding new help in the old traditions.



“Program Ten - Medicine Wheel Healing of Addictions"


“Directions in Aboriginal Ministry”
Building Bridges Project/ Newman College, Edmonton Alberta

“The Story of Canadian Aboriginal Spirituality”
Chapter 3, World Religions: A Canadian Catholic Perspective
By Sr. Eva Solomon, CSJ
Novalis Publishing Inc. and Nelson Education Ltd. 2011

"Medicine Wheel: A Method of Reading the Bible"
By +Sylvain Lavoie, OMI
Publisher TBA

“Drumming from Within: Tales of Hope and Faith from Canada's North.”
By +Sylvain Lavoie, OMI
Novalis Publishing Inc. 2009

"Faith Moments: Saint Kateri Tekakwitha"
By Anne Neuberger. Novalis 2009


Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) Click Here

Canadian Bishops on Saint Kateri Click Here

Canadian Bishops on Canadian Indigenous Peoples Click Here

Salt and Light TV video on Saint Kateri Click Here

Jesuits of English Canada on Saint Kateri Click Here

Catholic Missions in Canada Click Here

Saint Kateri Resources
compiled by
Religious Education + Family Life
Renfrew County Catholic School Board Click Here


Study Guide


The goal of Program Ten is to deepen students’ understanding of how Aboriginal traditions address issues of addictions.

With reflections from Leonard O’Kanee, Addictions Supervisor, Poundmaker’s Lodge, Edmonton, Alberta; Archbishop Sylvain Lavoie, OMI, Archbishop of Keewatin-Le Pas (2005-2012), Founding Chair, Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs, Assembly of Western Catholic Bishops; Sr. Eva Solomon, CSJ, Ojibway First Nation, Sister of St. Joseph of Sault Ste. Marie, Executive Director, Building Bridges Project; Doris Lirondelle, Métis, Elementary school teacher; Fr. Daryold Corbiere Winkler, CSB, Ojibway First Nation, Basilian Priest.


1. Show the internet TV video "Program Ten: Medicine Wheel: Healing of Addictions"

2. Ask students to form small groups to describe the following impressions from the video:

  • Who are the Aboriginal speakers speaking in the video and what are their main thoughts?
  • Who are the non-Aboriginal speakers speaking in the video and what are their main thoughts?
  • What did you know after viewing the video that you didn’t know before?
  • Give three reasons why Canadian Catholics should support the work of the Building Bridges Project.
  • From this video, describe a difference between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal concepts about addictions and how to treat them and how Aboriginal approaches to addictions treatment could help all Canadians and all Catholics.

3. Option for Take-Home Assignment

  • Via the Internet find more facts about addiction problems in Canada and various approaches to treatment.
  • From the video, how do you think Aboriginal approaches to addictions might help all Aboriginal peoples in their daily lives?
  • In groups, make presentations to the class about any or all of the above.