After its inaugural run this past fall, the “In Search of Your Warrior” program will be returning to the district in February.
Primarily aimed at men from First Nations communities across the area, the program is designed for those interested in exploring their acts of violence and understanding how violence has shaped their life, explained Harold Tookenay, who facilitated the program when it first ran back in the fall.
Offered by the Fort Frances Tribal Area Health Services Inc.’s Counselling Unit, the new program will begin Feb. 2 and run over a four-week period.
Tookenay is hoping get about 10 men over the age of 18 to participate.
“I’m really excited about doing this thing again,” he remarked.
“Finding their roots of violence is the first step to healing and learning alternative ways to deal with anger,” Tookenay added, noting the program hopes to assist men in making positive changes in their lives.
“When we take a look at the metaphor, the warrior, there are certain characteristics of the warrior that we aspire to,” he explained. “But because of our traumas, personal and otherwise, that prevents us to living this warrior mystique—this individual who is physically healthy, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually healthy.
“Here we’re talking about the warrior who has this inner strength, this courage, this love and compassion that exudes as a result of his healing. That’s the warrior that we’re talking about, not the military warrior, but the peaceful warrior.
“The one who is healthy, that’s what we’re striving for,” he stressed.
Tookenay believes many men out there are interested in dealing with their personal issues so long as it’s done in a safe and confidential environment—something he said is most important at these sessions.
The typical session day for the “In Search of Your Warrior” program begins with a ceremony, he explained, followed by what he refers to as a “morning reflection” that looks back on the previous session and anything arising from that.
Then the rest of the day is spent in discussions, conversations, lectures, and videos.
While there are set things to be talked about, Tookenay stressed an important part of the program and healing is the men themselves bringing their own personal information and stories to the group to share and talk about.
“What I found about [past participants] is their sincerity and their honesty about sharing information about themselves, as men who were traumatized as children, adolescents, young adulthood, and how they became from being victims to becoming perpetrators themselves,” said Tookenay.
“There was that lineage, that they were able to share that information with each other.”
In the inaugural sessions, one of the comments he made, which resonated with participants, was the idea that “We are not bad men, we are wounded men.”
“We’re not bad men, we’re just wounded,” Tookenay stressed. “We got traumatized, and because of that we got angry and retaliated, and we wanted to project our anger onto society and others, and as a result get incarcerated and so on.
“From the previous program that I ran, the guys were saying that ‘I’m really tired of the way that I’m living my life. I’m going to change.’ And this is how I heard the honesty and their sincerity about how they don’t want to be those kind of guys anymore.
“They want to be something much more fruitful to the community.”
The program aims to heal four aspects: the physical, the psychological, the emotional, and the spiritual, explained Tookenay, leading the men to become healthy individuals—something that’s also key to healthy families, healthy communities, and healthy children.
Those interested in participating in the “In Search of Your Warrior” program can contact Tookenay at 274-9839. The sessions will be take place at 601 King’s Highway and there is no deadline for signing up.