SYLVAN LAKE, Alta. - A freelance journalist who recently returned to Canada after 15 months in captivity in Somalia says she still believes people are inherently good.

Amanda Lindhout has released a statement and a photograph showing her smiling next to a white Christmas tree.

In her statement, she thanks her family, who reportedly helped pay a ransom that has been reported at between US$500,000 and US$1 million.

She also pays tribute to Australian photographer Nigel Brennan, who was captured at the same time, saying he found “small ways to remind me that there are gentlemen in the world, even when I was surrounded by just the opposite.”

Lindhout says she doesn't blame the Canadian government for not doing more to help her family during her captivity, saying officials did what they could within the country's policies.

The two freelancers were kidnapped on a road near Mogadishu in August 2008.

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