Tsetsusem (Camp Potlatch) Healing Journey

Twice a year Circle of Eagles Lodge Society (COELS) hosts the Tsetsusem Cultural Journey which takes place at Camp Potlatch. Camp Potlatch overlooks Howe Sound, known to the local Squamish First Nations as Tsetsusem (Tsay-Tsoh-Sum). The area is culturally relevant, full of history and the beauty that complements the focus of the journey in providing a safe, culturally relevant space for those participating to heal in the vastness of the nature away from the urban jungle.

Those that attend the Tsetsusem Healing Journey experience many traditional and cultural experiences.  These include West Coast traditional teachings and stories by local Elders and learning the cultural protocols of a traditional sea-going canoe called Kwa Kwem Tn.  Kwa Kwem Tn was built in 2000 by eight urban Indigenous youth, and every year since, this beautiful canoe transports participants on several canoe journeys.

The Healing Journey Overview

During the week Elders and locals share stories and history of the traditional territory of the Squamish peoples.  Tsetsusem Healing Journey is held twice per year, once in the spring or summer and once in the fall.  These structured journeys are designed to provide an enriching experience for Brothers and other participants in their healing journey.

Brothers stay in rustic cabins away from the comforts of modern living with no electricity in the cabins.  This is a healing journey, and each aspect of the journey is designed to enhance the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of the Brothers’ lives.  Each participant is encouraged to attend every part of the healing journey, but consideration is given that not all follow the same teachings, beliefs and traditions. Each participant’s beliefs will be respected.

The Healing Journey Schedule

The Healing Journey Schedule is balanced to fill each sector of the medicine wheel with mental, emotional, spiritual and physical activities.  Each part of the program will address one of those aspects, or a combination overall.

The Medicine Wheel Activities

Mental - Learning Traditional Protocols and Teachings, Learning  about the Drum, teachings and songs, Sharing Circles, Other activities.

Emotional - Anger Management, Letting Go Ceremony, Healthy Boundaries, Other as needed

Physical - Pulling on Kwa Kwem Tn, Hiking, Swimming

Spiritual - Morning Spirit Baths, Sweat Lodge Ceremonies, Prayers,  Smudging

Brothers Preparing for the Healing Journey

To prepare for the Healing Journey there are many considerations.  First and foremost is to remember that the experience will be challenging and rewarding.  This is a place to work on yourself and to respect the wisdom that lies within you and with those who are there to assist you in your healing journey.

Brothers Working with your Case Management Team (CMT)

CSC Institutions - It is very important once you have decided and have the ability to stay the full four days that you begin working with your Case Management Team (CMT).  Depending on your conditions your parole officer may have to write to the Parole Board of Canada to grant overnights in the community. If you are in the institution and need support COELS will follow up with your parole officer and warden as well as attend a hearing to support, you in your decision to continue your healing journey.

Community Supervision – if you are a Brother residing at Naa-na-himyis Brothers Healing Lodge and/or other Community Residential Facilities you have the opportunity to attend the Healing Journey.  You will need support from your CMT including your Parole Officer to attend the Tsetsusem Healing Journey.  It is important to plan earlier rather than later.  Your CMT is able to assist you in preparing.  You are required to attend the full four days of the Healing Journey.    

It is recommended that you sign up early, as there is a limit to the number of brothers who may attend. A waitlist will be established, priority will be for brothers who haven’t attended, then remaining spots for brothers who have signed up.

If a brother would like to sign up for the trip, they can mail a letter to:
Tsetsusum Healing Journey
2008 Wall St. Vancouver, B.C. V5L 1J5
Or email, clarec@coels.ca