Canada - International Document

Dancing, Singing, Painting, and Speaking the Healing Story: Healing Through Creative Arts

Author(s):*Listed Alphabetically
Archibald L, Dewar J, Reid C, Stevens V

Year of Publication:

Aboriginal Healing Foundation

Publication Type:


This report describes the results of a study by the Aboriginal Healing Foundation (AHF) in the use of creative arts in healing programs. The AHF was established in 1998 with a mandate to support the development of sustainable healing processes related to the legacy of Canada’s residential school system. Part of this was accomplished through research and evaluation that revealed the significant contribution of cultural interventions to healing, out of which the Creative Arts and Healing study grew. Since many cultural activities are arts-based, questions arose around the use of creative arts in healing programs; in particular, What happens when art, music, dance, storytelling, and other creative arts become a part of community-based Aboriginal healing programs?

The study demonstrated that clearly, art therapy can be an important tool in safely addressing individual and historic trauma. For many Aboriginal people, traditional arts, culture, and spirituality are intrinsic to maintaining or regaining a balanced life, and so from this perspective, there is no separation among the arts, culture, and healing because they are interwoven into the fabric of life. At a time when funding from the Aboriginal Healing Foundation is no longer available, this report shows that it is vital for governments and other funding bodies become open to supporting programs that integrate creative arts, culture, spirituality, and healing.

Evidence Type: Survey

Main Focus: Mental Health

Research Purpose: Primary Research

Context: Community

Art Forms: Multi-Arts

Access Type: Free Download

APA Citation:

Archibald L., Dewar J., Reid C., Stevens V. (2012). Dancing, Singing, Painting, and Speaking the Healing Story: Healing Through Creative Arts. Canada: Aboriginal Healing Foundation.