This is the story of how Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) Great Lakes Métis Council (GLMC) Senator Ralph Wolf Thistle took on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and addiction. PTSD is an anxiety disorder that can develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event, or learning that a traumatic event has happened to a loved one.
Senator Thistle is a retired 30 year veteran of the Toronto Police Service and has worked in homicide and missing people squad, criminal investigation bureau, youth bureau (child sexual assault investigator) and was also a training officer for recruits.
After numerous traumatic events Thistle was diagnosed with PTSD, alcoholism and depression.
Thistle started his journey of recovery six years ago by embracing his Métis culture. The MNO Toronto and York Region Métis Council (TYRMC) and the MNO Credit River Métis Council (CRMC) have loved and nurtured him back to spiritual health. He is repaying his dept of kindness by being an active citizen in the MNO.
Senator Thistle was invited to Malibu California by a United States (US) veterans group called The Sparta Project (Spiritual Process and Resiliency Training Association). Senator Thistle took part in this innovative program, which combines holistic and alternative methods to provide help in working through suicide and self-destructive behaviour. The Badge of Life Canada, which is a peer-led national non-profit volunteer organization committed to supporting police and corrections personnel who are dealing with psychological injuries suffered in the line of duty, assisted Thistle in fulfilling his dream of attending this event.
Senator Thistle spent five days with US Marines, Army, Air Force and Navy veterans. It was a hero’s journey of warriors helping warriors to stand down, come home and rejoin their community, family and loved ones. Senator Thistle and the American veterans were in the Mojave Desert where he received therapy which he found spiritually fulfilling. Also there was the healing power of meditation, assisted counselling and an adventure program.
The Sparta Project is a common sense experience which allows the warrior to participate again in life. This program is designed to help returning warriors find personal meaning from their own experience and translate them into a new sense of purpose.
Armed with this knowledge and teaching, Senator Thistle hopes to help other Métis first responders and veterans deal with their PTSD, addiction and mental illness.
Posted: March 28, 2017