Traditional Healing

Medicine image

Monthly Traditional Healing Calendars:

02 February 2019- SOAHAC Traditional Healing Calendar

03 March 2019-SOAHAC Traditional Healing Calendar

Please note that these schedules are subject to change with short notice


Traditional Healing Services

We believe that having access to traditional healing services is an essential part of integrated, wholistic health care and a vital component of healing the ongoing effects of colonization.

You do not need to have a doctor at SOAHAC to visit a traditional healer/Elder. If it is your first time accessing these services, an intake assessment may be required and a conversation with a Traditional Healing Liaison/Helper is recommended prior to your visit.

Traditional healing services are provided by:

  • Resident Healers/Elders
  • Visiting Healers, Elders & Teachers
  • Traditional Healing Liaisons

Each of our Traditional Healers and Elders may have different cultural protocols that have to be adhered to while visiting. For example, you will be reminded of the importance of presenting tobacco or other gifts to the Healers/Elders, and there may be specific teachings for men and for women while attending. You may receive recommendations to attend other ceremonies, or for traditional herbal medicines to help your recovery.

One to one visits

These usually begin with the offering of tobacco, followed by a conversation about your health or wellness concerns. Storytelling, teaching, doctoring, guidance, drumming, singing or smudging may all be part of your visit. The Traditional Healing Liaison will assist you and the Traditional Healer with all aspects of your visit, including note taking to help you remember your conversation.

You might feel a bit nervous about approaching a Traditional Healer during your first visit; this is normal and natural. Our Traditional Healers will do everything they can to try and put your mind at ease so you can be relaxed and comfortable as possible. Before and after each visit you will be given an opportunity to evaluate your experience based on a short, wholistic evaluation.

Teaching Circles and Ceremonies

We offer specialized cultural teachings, ceremonies or other learning events. These group activities are an excellent way to learn through direct participation or observation of some of our more profound ceremonies and cultural practices.

Meet our Traditional Healers


Richard AssinewaiRichard (Animkii-Ankwad) is Anishnaabe from Wikwemikong First Nation on Manitoulin Island.  He currently lives in the city of North Bay.  Richard is actively involved in the preservation of his culture and traditions and is a fluent Anishnaabemwin (Ojibwa) speaker.  He has worked with Aboriginal people struggling with the justice system and has worked inside Community Corrections facilities.  Richard had endured many difficult life situations and he openly shares these experiences, his acquired knowledge and his wisdom through his personal story of spiritual development.  Although Richard is familiar with many modalities of Traditional Healing, he is most often called upon to create sacred space and facilitate spiritual ceremony, communicating with our ancestors, and assisting people to find their original connections to creation.


Elva Jamieson is from the Cayuga Nation of the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory.  She belongs to the Wolf Clan family of the Longhouse where she sits as Faithkeeper since she was a teenager.  Elva strongly believes in ceremony and its ability to help us adapt to different changes we experience on our Life Path.  Although she has the ability to conduct a range of traditional healing services on a holisitc/spiritual level to help guide people toward their personal healing, she considers herself a “Plant Person.”  Elva had been taught local traditional medicines through her mother who was also well-known for her indigenous knowledge of plants and their use.  Elva has incorporated all this knowledge toward her commitment to preserve our languages, culture, spirituality, and to reawaken the Onkwehonwe faith in their ability to heal themselves. 


Ernestine McLeodErnestine (Esstin) comes from the Mississauga First Nation near Blind River, Ontario.  She is an Anishnaabe mother and grandmother.  Ernestine has studied and facilitated the healing benefits of medicinal plants and has been incorporating and promoting Aboriginal healing methods as a part of her practice for over twenty (20) years.  She spends valuable time with Ojibwa elders in her territory and they have encouraged her to pursue her spiritual beliefs by developing and creating an awareness related to Anishnaabe Healing Methods for the people.  Ernestine’s life philosophy is, “Within the Circle of Life, Anishinaabe Healing Leads to Empowerment.”  Often, Ernestine will be asked to guide people through meadows and forests to teach them about the medicinal properties of local plants.


Joanne is a member of the Cree Nation from the community of Moose Factory, Ontario.  Over the past number of years her work experience has been centered on the healing arts – specifically with Aboriginal people.  A sensitive caring leader in life, she completed training in the technique of Aromatherapy Massage and works in consultation with our Traditional Healing staff to help those who are experiencing too much stress and/or chronic pain.


Joanne JacksonJoanne Jackson is Eagle Clan from the Kettle & Stony Point First Nation. She is the Resident Healer in London. Joanne has sat with various elders and healers for over twenty-five years where she obtained her valuable Indigenous Knowledge. She had helped, observed and gained hands-on experience through the healing approaches and guidance of elders and healers that inform her practice today.  Joanne has been entrusted to conduct Traditional Doctoring, various healing ceremonies such as sweatlodges, and she provides cultural teachings to guide people on their own journey.  Joanne knows that her own life-long journey toward healing and wellness are not yet over.  What she learns along the way she brings home to share with her Nation.  In addition, Joanne has a very good knowledge of alternative methods of moving toward healing and wellness that she might incorporate into her practice.  Joanne has also obtained a Master’s Degree in Social Work. She integrates all of these modalities with her personal gifts to create a wholistic approach to healing. Joanne respects individual diversity and adjusts her healing style to meet these personal needs. She has worked in many First Nations and Native organizations over the past 20 years.


Larry “Sonny” Hill was raised in Six Nations of the Grand River. He grew up in the Longhouse, attending ceremonies. His early exposure to ceremonies and being with the Elders have prepared him as an Indigenous Knowledge Carrier; his practice includes readings, medicine societies, their protocol, foods, and songs. Sonny moved to Oneida Wisconsin 20 years ago where he has worked at the Turtle School for 18 years. He currently provides support for both Longhouse ceremonies and behavior health in Wisconsin. Sonny also provides counseling from a cultural perspective.