Pimatisiwin

Creative Arts, Culture, and Healing: Building an Evidence Base

Abstract

While Indigenous societies have acknowledged the healing power of visual art, dance, music, drama, and storytelling for millennia, the western world’s recognition of the therapeutic benefits of the arts is more recent. The Aboriginal Healing Foundation recently completed a study of the use and benefits of creative arts in First Nation, Inuit, and Métis healing programs throughout Canada. This study presents compelling evidence that creative arts, culture, and healing are linked — to each other, certainly, and also linked to the idea that, when given the freedom to choose, communitybased healing programs overwhelmingly include creative arts. The findings should be of interest to Aboriginal communities and organizations engaged in mental health and healing, policy makers, funding bodies, program managers, healers, counsellors, artists, governments, and academics.

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