Sts ailes and kw kw xwelhp healing village our unique relationship
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Sts’ailes and Kwìkwèxwelhp Healing Village Our Unique Relationship. Evolution of the Healing Village.

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Sts ailes and kw kw xwelhp healing village our unique relationship

Sts’ailes and Kwìkwèxwelhp Healing Village

Our Unique Relationship

Evolution of the healing village
Evolution of the Healing Village

  • The Government of Canada and CSC recognized the unique culture and needs of aboriginal offenders and the over representation of aboriginal people in prisons. In 1998 the development of Elbow Lake Institution as an Aboriginal Healing Village began through discussions with the Chehalis Indian Band (now known as Sts’ailes).

  • The late Ron Wiebe, then Warden of Elbow Lake and Ferndale minimum security institution, had a vision that saw Elbow Lake become the Pacific Region’s center for Aboriginal programs as an Aboriginal Healing Village.

  • The Chief, then Alex Paul, and Council have the mandate to look after the interests, health and well-being of its band members. Therefore, prior to engaging CSC in any formal agreement, they insisted on conducting community consultation with its membership.

Considerations for how to manage the facility
Considerations for how to Manage the Facility

  • Three different management approaches were considered:

    • Section 81 facility - Chehalis decided that this option was not exactly what they intended and did not want to fully engage that model at this time.

    • Co-Management – After a thorough review it was determined that this was not legally viable within Corrections

    • Inclusive Partnership – This approach allowed Chehalis to be actively involved and would assist the management of Kwìkwèxwelhp in respecting and fulfilling the true mandate of what the vision was for this new institution

The result of consultation
The Result of Consultation

After much consultation and consideration, the Inclusive Partnership option would meet both Chehalis and CSC’s mandates and vision.

MOU Signing 2001

In May 2001 the Chehalis Indian Band and CSC - Kwiwkexwelhp signed an MOU that defined the parameters of the relationship and officially in October Elbow Lake Institution was renamed Kwìkwèxwelhp Healing Village, “ A place where we gather medicines”.

Sts ailes and kw kw xwelhp healing village our unique relationship

Inclusive partnership is accomplished through the followings:

Si’wesalhSlelhals (Senate Advisory Committee)

Cooperative Programs Board (CO-OP)

Citizen Advisory Committee – including members of Chehalis

Contracted Services (Community Engagement and Cultural Activities)

Consultation during Transfers and ETA considerations

Community house
Community House followings:

Our community house was built in 2001. A Sts’ailes band member was hired at that time and continues to work with CSC today.

This is the only building of its kind within any CSC prison. This home is in essence a Longhouse. However, since this building would also be used for meetings as well as ceremony, it was determined that this would be more appropriately named a Community House.

Our Community House has been officially approved as the site for Parole Board hearings.

We hold monthly Welcome Ceremony and Open Forum meetings in the Community House as well as various training and graduation ceremonies .

To maintain our home with the same integrity as in the community, we conduct a Winter opening (November) and closing ceremony (February) as per the longhouse protocols.

Evolution of the community house
Evolution of the Community House followings:

Community House Model

Groundbreaking Ceremony

Community house construction 2001
Community House Construction 2001 followings:

Raising of the poles

Construction phase

Progression of our partnership
Progression of our Partnership followings:



  • Human resource development; Shadowing program in 2000. Kwìkwèxwelhp was able to obtainfunding for 10 people from the local communities to participate in a six-week program. This resulted in 2 staff hired for works/maintenance and 2 staff were hired as Correctional Officers (CX).

  • The initial members of the CAC were Boyd Peters and Willie Charlie from Sts’ailes.

Human resource development; Co-mentorship program in 2012. Kwìkwèxwelhp was able to obtain funding for 3 people from the local communities to participate in 90 days of work experience in a CSC environment. This resulted in 2 clerical staff (CR) being hired, 1 as a term by RHQ and 1 as casual at Kwìkwèxwelhp.

Boyd Peters is the chairperson of our CAC . Our membership now includes a First Nations member from Leq' a: mel First Nations in Deroche.

Partnership cont d
Partnership cont’d followings:

  • The Warden of Kwìkwèxwelhp and the Chief of Sts’ailes meet regularly to discuss and seek input on new initiatives, staff changes, and issues that arise; i.e. tobacco/smoking, behaviour of Kwikwteálex (cultural name for the offenders given to them by the community) while on the reserve.

  • The Kwikwteálex are also held accountable for their behaviour. They clearly understand the importance of this relationship between CSC and Sts’ailes and the impact their behaviour and decisions have on the community and this relationship.

Partnership cont d1
Partnership cont’d followings:

  • A Community Consultation was conducted in 2013 to evaluate the existing relationship between CSC and Sts’ailes and to provide recommendations for the partnership to continue to move forward.

Kw kw xwelhp re development
Kwìkwèxwelhp Re-Development followings:

  • Kwìkwèxwelhp was originally intended as a temporary work camp. However, when the site changed from Elbow Lake to Kwìkwèxwelhp there was a need to review all aspects of the facility to fully engage and support Aboriginal lifestyle and teachings.

  • The Site re-development would allow us to promote Coast Salish architecture and teachings; Totem Poles, Welcome Posts, Flowing Water to name a few things. During the discussion around the re-development, members of the Si’wesalhSlelhals, Sts’ailes, Kwìkwèxwelhp, RHQ, and NHQ were involved in the design of the new facility.

  • Another unique opportunity arose that would support employment and apprenticeship training of Sts’ailes members and the Kwikwteálex. The contract for the Site Re-Development would have an Aboriginal set aside clause and an apprenticeship component, where 4 Kwikwteálex and 3 members of Sts’ailes would be hired by the construction company for the duration of the project.

Welcome building
Welcome Building followings:

Key elements to a successful partnership relationship
Key elements to a successful partnership/relationship? followings:

  • Respect

    • Sts’ailes and CSC do not have a high level form of agreement. However, CSC has always been very understanding and respectful of the protocols of ceremony and have included Sts’ailes in various discussions and have relied on them to provide advice to senior managers.

    • CSC and Kwìkwèxwelhp specifically have incorporated the beliefs into our day to day operation, and resolution of conflict (charges , segregation etc). The overall atmosphere of the village is that of community (i.e. Calling Elder Rita Leon – Grandma)

  • Integrity

    • Leadership from the institution and support from Regional Headquarters to the community of Sts’ailes is phenomenal.

  • Communication

    • Continuous and ongoing communication is paramount. The Warden at Kwìkwèxwelhp regularly meets with the Chief of Sts’ailes to discuss incidents, struggles, challenges, protocols, etc.

    • Regular sharing of information also occurs at the Senate Meetings, CO-OP, and CAC meetings.

      The relationship between Kwìkwèxwelhp and Sts’ailes continues to strengthen, and is setting an example on how partnerships with Aboriginal communities is paramount to the safe reintegration of Aboriginal offenders ultimately resulting in safer communities.