New Story Program
New Story provides a safe and nurturing space for a small community of Indigenous women to begin or to continue their healing journey. Each woman will explore the truth of her identity both as an Indigenous woman and as a follower of Jesus. Each will be given opportunity to learn and to grow spiritually, educationally, socially, and vocationally. Each will have opportunity to learn many life & employment skills as well as to set and accomplish personal goals – and all this in a beautiful location surrounded by a supportive community.
Why Indigenous Women?
Before colonization, Indigenous women across North America were the wisdom keepers and key leaders in their communities. Today, Indigenous women are among the most vulnerable people in North America*. Many Indigenous women face a variety of barriers to the dreams they have for themselves. New Story Community is about removing some of those barriers. It’s about creating a safe, inspiring, and practical place for each woman to imagine a good future for herself, a New Story, and to have the resources and freedom to pursue that future.
Barnabas Landing - where we work:
Barnabas was established in 1986 and has been a thriving retreat centre ever since. There are a number of working parts to the ministry: gourmet food services, generous hospitality in a retreat setting, a working farm (both animal and vegetable), immaculate gardens, and much more. The women work and be trained and mentored in a variety of areas and will explore her creative and practical giftings and talents and will come away with several highly employable skills.
2021 - 2022 Graduate
"Before I came here, I was in a horrible place, I was an addict. I was living on the streets just trying to survive. I did so many things I promised myself I would never do in my lifetime. That’s exactly what drugs do to your life it makes you do things that you’d never do in your right mind. If I could go back to the day I first used and just not use I would, but I can’t change my past I can only change right here and right now. Since coming to New Story I have learnt so many new things, I learnt about God again, I learnt to love myself, and I learnt how to trust people. When I came here, I was nervous because the way people treated me on the streets it was cruel. I thought because they knew about my history, they would treat me the same. But they didn’t they welcomed me with open arms, and they didn’t treat me any different than any other worker.
I honestly think if I was anywhere else, I would have ended up using again, but here changed my life. Because of this place I am sober today."
Muskrat Dam First Nation, Muskrat Dam, Ontario
Mark and Cheryl Buchanan have amazing hearts for Indigenous people. Their entire lives reflect and embody this love for my people. They are immersed in the lives of Indigenous women even now and they know first hand the pain that many of my people carry. It is only fitting then that, The New Story Community, a healing center for Indigenous women has emerged from this incredible love. This kind of healing place is much needed today where love, support, and community is created for the hurting as they heal from trauma.
As an Indigenous woman I have experienced much trauma in my life. As an Indigenous counselor for over 20 years, I have seen and heard the impact of trauma in my people. Hearing Mark and Cheryl’s heart and vision to walk alongside my people in this way is so exciting and encouraging. Creating a safe place to heal and grow is essential for healing from our trauma. I am so excited to see this much needed and vital endeavor emerge for Indigenous woman.
2021 - 2022 Graduate
"When I first came to New Story, I was thinking to myself what the heck did I get myself into.
I am so happy I took that help that was offered to me. Because if my Aunt didn’t reach out I'd probably be in the hospital, or on the streets, or in jail or worse case. Dead. I was falling more into the darkness without even knowing it. I was caught up in my addictions of alcohol and drugs, I didn’t even know how many people I was hurting. I was that selfish and didn’t care. I was losing relationships with both my girls, my family and most of all I was losing myself. Big time. I was at the point where I just wanted everything to just end I was that tired. And now, I am very glad I didn’t go out the way I thought I'd go.
My time being here in BC and being part of New Story Community, has been quite the experience. Everything was BIG to me and new to me.. I didn’t know anyone and no one knew me. Even I didn’t know me. I had many doubts and worries about this place. I wondered about being judged right off the bat. Or if I was going to be liked or not. But no, the people I met are nice, and made it ok and safe when I felt their warm welcomes. I was able to breath and feel comfortable with my surroundings.
I have to say im proud I pushed through. No matter how many times I wanted to give up, no matter how many times I wanted to just shut down, or run away. I stayed.
I went from being small and feeling lost, and confused, to being able to find myself again. I able love myself again. The light I once had, it came back and I'm so happy it did. Being here saved me."