Shinah House


“Bringing Our Children Home”


“Elder Peter Strikes With A Gun, Foster Parent of 35 years, Former Piikani Nation Chief stated “Its about time we bring our children home”

Noh Koh Waa is a grassroots home for indigenous children who have been taken from their homes and placed in mainstream group homes or Non-Native foster homes. The home is being developed from Indigenous knowledge and values that share a holistic approach to wellness, through mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional methodologies.

Noh Koh Waa is being created by Indigenous wisdom holders including those who serve as elders, clan mothers, hereditary leaders, foster parents, social workers, doctors, nurses, researchers, administrators along with their supportive friends and colleagues, committed to supporting the children’s journey home.

Currently, 52% of children in foster care under the age of 14 years are Indigenous, however, they only represent 7.7% of children in Canada under the age of 14.

 “Describing the issue as one of her top priorities, Jane Philpott noted this week that Canada removes indigenous children from their families at a rate that ranks among the highest in the developed world.”

“We are facing a humanitarian crisis in this country where indigenous children are vastly, disproportionately overrepresented in the child welfare system,” Philpott told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. ( Reported by Guardian Weekly 2016)

Shinah House



Noh Koh Waa is not about creating housing, it’s about creating ‘family’. The home will support children, youth, and families. This all-encompassing, unique home will reconnect those participating back to their Indigenous language, culture, and community. This home will not only be a home to the children but to the supports that surround the children; all will be learning and growing in wellness together. Noh Koh Waa is bringing a long-seen vision forward.

The outcomes from the Noh Koh Waa initiative will bring to light the wisdom of Indigenous best practices and will support the efforts of those developing services, accreditation, and policies for children in community care. This is a new beginning that will bring hope, healing, and health to individuals, families, and communities. We have the opportunity, to be part of the solution, by bringing children home to an environment that is created from a circular perspective (everything is connected), a way of life that Indigenous people of Turtle Island have known since before European contact.

NOH KOH WAA Family & Youth Care Centres

NOH KOH WAA homes are directed and lead by Indigenous people and their friends with lived experiences; welcoming people of all races, cultures, abilities, and ethnic backgrounds to join in the effort to spread a message of hope.


Noh Koh Waa Family & Youth Care Centre helps support:

  • Family Unification
  • Youth Residential Care
  • 24 Hour Support
  • Cultural Support
  • One-On-One Support
  • Disability Support For Children
In this materialistic, fast-paced culture, many children have broken circles, and the fault line usually starts with damaged relationships. Having no bonds to significant adults, they chase counterfeit belongings through gangs, cults, and promiscuous relationships. Some are so alienated that they have abandoned the pursuit of human attachment. Guarded, lonely, and distrustful, they live in despair or strike out in rage. Families, schools, and youth organizations are being challenged to form new “tribes” for all of our children so there will be no “psychological orphans.”
~Martin Brokenleg



At NohKohWaa, we will provide every child in our care with a traditional Indigenous diet, which is a hunter gatherers diet, proven to aid in lowering inflammation and calming the nervous system.

The menu has been created to focus on nutrient dense, whole foods to provide optimal nutrition. The recipes were carefully and thoughtfully selected to include protein, healthy fats, root vegetables, bone broths, and berries. We also use natural sweeteners and stay away from processed foods as much as possible including white sugar. We thank Jana Sacco for her contribution in helping design the menu for our centres. We also recognize Dr. Bonnie Kaplan for all her encouragement and support over the past 14 years as a Wisdom Keeper in support of Shinah House Foundation

We will also provide a daily broad spectrum of minerals and vitamins (micronutrients) that are recommended by doctors and researched for their effectiveness. We will continue to work with our many supporting professionals to ensure all our children have optimal nutrition.


Traditional Indigenous knowledge has always taught us that a healthy diet is critical for our mental health. Now, hundreds of modern studies continue to prove that a healthy diet reduces mental health problems.

For example, three independent studies (all of which were randomized controlled trials, RCTs) found that people with depression, who were educated to eat a diet focused on ‘real’ rather than processed food, dramatically improved their mental health in 6-12 weeks (1-3). Other RCTs have reported that type of improvement from just increasing vegetables and fruit (4). And an amazing long-term study in Japan has shown that a healthy diet protected people from suicide, reducing risk by 50% (5).

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Some of the modern scientific research has also proven that taking a broad spectrum of minerals and vitamins (micronutrients), or even just a daily B complex, improves mental resilience in the face of crises:

  • An RCT with people who experienced the southern Alberta floods in 2013 —57% responded very beneficially to B complex or broad-spectrum micronutrient treatment in just 6 weeks (6).
  • An RCT with people who experienced the devastating earthquakes in New Zealand in 2010-11– 42% responded very beneficially to micronutrient treatment, and probable PTSD reduced from 75% to 17% in just 4 weeks (7).
  • Clinical data collected following the mosque mass shootings in New Zealand in 2019 — 58% responded very beneficially to micronutrients (8).
  • In 2016 during the Fort McMurry fires, thousands of people were displaced, and they received no advice about taking micronutrients of any kind. What was the result? In 2019 a University of Alberta group reported that 46% of the 3,070 students in Fort McMurry met criteria for one or more probable diagnosis of PTSD, depression, anxiety, or alcohol/substance abuse (9).

For more information:
References cited above

  1. Jacka et al, “A Randomised Controlled Trial of Dietary Improvement for Adults with Major Depression (the ‘Smiles’ Trial),” BMC Medicine 15 (2017): 23.
  2. Parletta et al., “A Mediterranean-Style Dietary Intervention Supplemented with Fish Oil Improves Diet Quality and Mental Health in People with Depression: A Randomized Controlled Trial (HELFIMED),” Nutritional Neuroscience, 22, no. 7 (2017): 1–14.
  3. Francis et al., “A Brief Diet Intervention Can Reduce Symptoms of Depression in Young Adults; a Randomised Controlled Trial,” PloS One 14,(2019): e0222768.
  4. Conner et al., “Let Them Eat Fruit! The Effect of Fruit and Vegetable Consumption on Psychological Well-Being in Young Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial,” PloS One 12, (2017):
  5. Nanri A et al. “Dietary patterns and suicide in Japanese adults: the Japan Public Health Center-based Prospective Study.” Br J Psychiatry. 2013 Dec;203(6):422-7.
  6. Kaplan et al. “A randomised trial of nutrient supplements to minimise psychological stress after a natural disaster.” Psychiatry Research 2015 Aug 30;228(3):373-9.
  7. Rucklidge et al. (2012). “Shaken but unstirred? Effects of     micronutrients on stress and trauma after an earthquake: RCT evidence comparing formulas and doses.”      Human Psychopharmacology, 27(5), 440-454.
  8. Rucklidge et al., “Massacre, Earthquake, Flood: Translational science evidence that the use of micronutrients post-disaster reduces the risk of post-traumatic stress in survivors of disasters,” currently under review.
  9. Brown et al., “Significant PTSD and Other Mental Health Effects Present 18 Months After the Fort McMurray Wildfire: Findings From 3,070 Grades 7-12 Students,”   Frontiers in Psychiatry, 2019 Aug 30;10:623.
Director: Karen English