Governance Model

Our original governance systems were matrilineal in nature, directed by Grandmother Councils and Clan Mother Systems. Today, we are witness to an incredible time of resurgence world-wide, as Indigenous women assume their natural roles as leaders, tackling some of the biggest challenges facing humanity.


We believe that healing is only possible when we return to our Indigenous models and methodologies of healing. This includes re-imagining agency governance. In this regard, we have developed a governance structure for the Healing Village and Knowledge Centre that will enrich the organization by creating a modern version of our traditional governance.

Historically, ikwe [women and those who identify as female] were understood to be inherent holders of unique maada’ookii [gifts], which include niigaanii [ability to lead] in ceremony, in community and family life, and themselves as individuals. Clan mothers formed the foundation of all governance, and held the responsibility for making decisions, selecting, or removing leaders, and representing the general will of the community through mediation, by providing guidance, and adjudicating in disputes.

The belief was that governance and leadership have joint responsibility, rather than a hierarchical authority. This can be explained in the following chart:

Governance Model Chart

Our programs and services have been created by recognizing “Lived-Experience-Leadership” – a process that enables us to draw on the input and guidance of leaders throughout Turtle Island who have experiential knowledge and understanding of the issues and have developed proven solutions in their own communities.