Na a way Ishkode Opens at Siloam Mission
Space brings more opportunities for healing for Indigenous community


Winnipeg, Manitoba, 9 February 2024 – A new Indigenous-designed space at Siloam Mission is opening today. It will offer First Nations, Inuit, and Métis community members opportunities to restore their dignity and reconnect to Indigenous practices.

Na a way Ishkode (Centre Fire in Anishinaabemowin) will offer traditional healing and sacred teachings under the guidance of Indigenous Knowledge Keepers, benefiting Indigenous community members experiencing poverty and homelessness by providing access to culturally appropriate space and services that can assist with grief and promote healing.

The space was largely made possible by a very generous gift from The Dorothy Strelsin Foundation. Additional funding from The Winnipeg Foundation and the Province of Manitoba also helped make the Indigenous cultural space a reality.

“Na a way Ishkode is the result of an Indigenous-led process – from the design, naming and planning of its use – the space is a gift to our relatives and future generations. We are so grateful to the partners who supported Siloam in dreaming big for our community,” says Christine Vanagas, Director of Community Wellness.

Designed to remind one of an Indigenous teaching lodge, the space will host Sharing Circles, Indigenous teachings, and Elder Supports. A feature that makes Na a way Ishkode unique is its increased ventilation, allowing Indigenous practices like smudging. There is also a fire pit in an adjacent exterior space where a sacred fire can be built for Community Memorials and other ceremonies. 

“We are grateful to everyone who has contributed to make this space a reality,” said Tessa Blaikie Whitecloud, CEO at Siloam Mission “As we live into Christ’s teachings of reconciliation (example Matthew, 5:23-24) and our commitments to Truth and Reconciliation at Siloam Mission, this space is integral to our strategic goal of developing culturally safe space(s) for Indigenous spiritual practice, healing and knowledge transmission. “ 

The capital renovations also included a refresh of the Longtin Resource Centre, which is home to Siloam Mission’s Art and Wellness program. The program allows community members another means of healing through various creative media. When community members’ creations are complete, they are also provided with the option to sell their art

Originally opened in September 2010, the Longtin Resource Centre was developed to offer different pathways to healing. This space is well utilized by community members and is possible thanks to funding provided by Paul & Theresa Longtin.

Both programming spaces allow Indigenous practices and teachings to happen at Siloam Mission, helping us live into our commitment to Truth and Reconciliation.

“The beauty of these newly constructed spaces is a physical reflection of the vision provided by the Knowledge Keepers, Indigenous staff and community partners when dreaming about a space that would celebrate Indigenous knowledge and practices. It is exciting to see this space now be one of healing and reconnection to Indigenous teachings,” says Vanagas.

Siloam Mission is a Christian-based non-profit service organization for vulnerable Manitobans who have experienced homelessness and who struggle with mental health issues, physical and cognitive disabilities, addictions or trauma, and youth who have aged out of care and are at risk of homelessness. Founded in 1987, the mission provides emergency shelter, meals and clothing, supportive housing and a variety of services to help people progress, in order that they reach their highest potential. Visit our website for more information about what we do.