Teaching family the importance of community accountability, responsibility, respect and reciprocity through philanthropy
Selena Mills has a deep connection to Anishnawbe Health Toronto (AHT). “In my youth, I lived rough on the streets and shelters; trying to self-medicate away painful memories of abuse, violence, mental health discord, and displacement from my own community and biological Indigenous family.” Selena adds, “AHT was one of the few organizations that positively impacted my own healing journey.”
Today, Selena continues her connection with AHT through her role as a Circle of Landscape Cultivator in support of the Indigenous Peoples’ Landscape. “As a member of the Circle of Landscape Cultivators, I’m asking the Indigenous Community to join me in advancing the spirit of philanthropy that was at the root of Anishnawbe Health’s founding.”
In addition, Selena recently partnered with AHT through her role as Lead: Health Systems Transformation & Strategic Communications at The Centre for Wise Practices in Indigenous Health at Women’s College Hospital, through direct mentorship & guidance by Dr. Lisa Richardson, overall Lead of Indigenous Health at Women’s College Hospital. This partnership with AHT and other Indigenous-led organizations continues to be l included the Maad’ookiing Mshkiki—Sharing Medicine virtual hub, which connects Indigenous communities with resources regarding the COVID-19 vaccination.
“It was important for me to include my family in support of the campaign because they are my Central Fire. Being a mother is something that I did not think would happen for a very long time. It’s been quite the physical, spiritual, emotional and mental journey to get to a place where my body could grow new life and my spirit and mind and heart could nurture a family in a kind, honest relationship and in healthy ways,” Selena continues. “I try to teach my children every day the importance of community accountability, responsibility, respect and reciprocity. They are old enough now to know parts of stories from my childhood and youth and how I’ve come to be the mama I am now today. I share how I am constantly growing, healing and learning and that giving back to our community is a part of making the work and the relations for future leaders and communities less hard; less toxic and less lateral.”
When asked about what she wants others to know about the Indigenous Peoples’ Landscape Campaign, Selena replies, “No amount is too small. Your support will help create a Landscape that is accessible to all visitors to the health centre, without needing to make an appointment. I also encourage non-Indigenous people to make a gift in tribute to an Indigenous family member, friend, co-worker,” Selena continues, “We are gathering tributes and stories about AHT and how it has impacted you or a loved one. You can recognize the trailblazing impact this Indigenous-led community health centre has had on the Urban Indigenous Community since the 1980s. That’s nearly 40 years of self-determined wrap-around care, going strong throughout COVID, never shutting down, and providing mobile COVID testing and more recently vaccination clinics. There’s so much more that Anishnawbe Health delivers on in safe, sophisticated, healing and culturally-specific ways.”
To find out more about how you can support the Indigenous Peoples’ Landscape, please visit www.supportanishnawbe.ca/indigenous-peoples-landscape