Helping Aboriginal People
     Heal Themselves.


» What is the Aboriginal Healing Foundation?

An Aboriginal-managed, national, Ottawa-based, not-for-profit private corporation established March 31, 1998 and provided with a grant of $350 million dollars by the federal government of Canada as part of Gathering Strength—Canada's Aboriginal Action Plan. The Aboriginal Healing Foundation was given an eleven-year mandate, ending March 31, 2009, to encourage and support, through research and funding contributions, community-based Aboriginal directed healing initiatives which address the legacy of physical and sexual abuse suffered in Canada’s Indian Residential School System, including inter-generational impacts. In 2007, the Aboriginal Healing Foundation received $125M under the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement (IRSSA), extending the AHF's lifespan to September 30, 2014.

» Why is the AHF necessary?

As a result of institutional abuses suffered in the past, Aboriginal people today suffer from the many effects of unresolved trauma, including but not limited to:
  • lateral violence (when an oppressed group turns on itself and begins to violate each other
  • suicide
  • depression
  • poverty
  • alcoholism
  • lack of parenting skills
  • lack of capacity to build and sustain healthy families and communities
Our vision is of a future when these effects have been meaningfully resolved and Aboriginal people have restored their wellbeing for themselves and for their descendants seven generations ahead.

» How is the AHF managed?

The Aboriginal Healing Foundation is governed by a Board of Directors made up of Aboriginal people from across The Members are appointed by Aboriginal political organizations, the federal government of Canada, and Aboriginal people at-large. The Board establish policy and give direction to staff. The Foundation is accountable through its Funding Agreement with Canada and through its By-law. Guided by these arrangements, the Aboriginal Healing Foundation has committed its resources according to clear and transparent funding criteria established in consultation with Aboriginal people.

» Is there any funding available?

No. All of our funds have been committed by the AHF Board of Directors to community-based healing grants. Project details of every funding grant are available in the Funded Projects section.

» What is the "Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement”?

The Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement (IRSSA) is a comprehensive settlement package negotiated between the Government of Canada, the churches, lawyers representing Survivors, and the Assembly of First Nations. This package includes a cash payment for all former students of Indian residential schools, healing funds, a truth and reconciliation commission, and commemoration funding.

For more details, please visit Residential School Settlement or phone 1-866-879-4913.

Please note that this is a Government of Canada initiative. The Indian Residential Settlement Agreement (i.e. the Common Experience Payment, Commemoration Initiatives, and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission) is not a program of the Aboriginal Healing Foundation.

» Is the Foundation closing its doors?

Yes. The Aboriginal Healing Foundation's mandate runs to September 30, 2014. Government has indicated that there will be no additional funds committed to the Aboriginal Healing Foundation. We will fund twelve regional healing centres, and we will publish research and fulfill our obligations as an organization, as indicated in our winding-down strategy (see the 2010 AHF Corporate Plan).

» Will there be funding for new proposals?

No. The additional $125 million committed to the AHF in the 2007 Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement has been fully committed to extensions for existing AHF-funded projects, and there will be no further funds.

» Why weren't the additional funds committed to the AHF in 2007 used to fund new proposals?

The Board struggled with this decision. We know there are many survivors and communities in urgent need of healing support. The decision came down to the following reasoning.

For some years we have been delivering the message to government that the healing has just begun and must be continued. The Board felt an obligation to those who had put their trust in an AHF-funded healing project, and therefore decided it would be potentially harmful to allow those beginning the healing journey suddenly to lose their support. We therefore set ourselves to the task of deciding which projects would receive additional funds.

Although of great importance, the additional money committed to the AHF is modest in relation to need. We knew we would have to apply as best we could a clear, reasonable, and public set of criteria. The Board therefore settled on the following criteria:

· the project must have a history of sound financial management
· the project must have a broad reach, serving women, youth, Elders etc.
· the project must deliver direct therapeutic services

Even when the criteria were applied, there were many good projects doing good work that we could not fund. The decision was a matter of limited resources, by an organization that has already received over 1.3 billion dollars in funding requests from Aboriginal communities.

» What are "Adobe Acrobat Reader PDF Files"?

PDF, or "portable document format," is a type of computer file designed to maintain the look and printability of the original document — including the layout, fonts, colours, and pictures. Documents converted into PDF are on average 50% smaller than the original document, reducing the amount of time it takes to download and open them. Also, PDF eliminates the need for you to have the many different software programs used to make publications. All you need is the free Adobe Acrobat Reader software to open a PDF file. You can download the software at