The cornerstone of Marjorie "Maggie" Hodgson's accomplishments as a leader of international networks to fight aboriginal substance abuse is her belief that success must be celebrated and that success is contagious. Marjorie has created two successful national and international networks and has facilitated the worldwide sharing of knowledge between indigenous communities. She also facilitates healing between victims and perpetrators of past government policies that allowed personnel working at mandated residential schools to abuse their aboriginal students.
The youngest of six children, Maggie Hodgson was born in British Columbia, Canada, to an aboriginal woman who had survived one of the residential schools the Canadian government forced upon the aboriginals as part of an assimilation policy. The widespread physical and sexual abuse of more than 12,000 aboriginals in the schools led to ongoing cycles of mistreatment, emotional devastation, and substance abuse. Maggie's home was no exception. Her parents were alcoholic and poor; Maggie married at 17 and was a mother of two by age 18. As an activist in poverty law, she was plunged into a lifetime of work when she spurred the investigation of the abuse of 26 aboriginal foster children. As director of an aboriginal training institute, she began researching and developing methods of education, intervention, and healing, which for the next 34 years would transform communities worldwide. Cofounder of the National Day of Healing and Reconciliation, as well as Healing Our Spirit Worldwide, Maggie believes that individuals, families, and communities that have lived with tragedies have a thirst to celebrate even the smallest successes. The success of her own movements is testimony to her beliefs. She developed the world's first National Addictions Awareness Week, which began with no funds and 25 aboriginal communities; in three years it had grown to 1500 communities with 700,000 participants. She conducts healing workshops across Canada with both perpetrators and victims and is working on a process to settle cases outside court for the 13,000 aboriginals who are suing the government for physical and sexual abuse. She is co-chair of a working caucus that advocates for policy changes and which has convinced the government to allocate $74 million for counseling services for residential school survivors and $10 million for commemoration activities.
National Day of Healing and Reconciliation Healing Our Spirit Worldwide