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Amber Dion and Terri Cardinal

This session will explore the connection of spirit to trauma-informed practices. What we understand about trauma thus far is predominately studied and disseminated through a Western and Eurocentric lens. While understanding how trauma is experienced in the human body and brain, we know that we must also consider how our spirits have been impacted. This session explores both the impacts of trauma on our brains and bodies and our spirits. We have engaged with nehiyaw knowledge keepers, elders and language speakers to help us in this work.

The session is structured with the foundation as Indigenous folks as we were, pre-contact. With the focus of this foundation as our first law of love, we build up with the disruptions of love we have collectively experienced, what this looks like in our communities, how the disruptions affect our families, and how we rebuild structures of Indigenous love.

The presenters have done extensive research on the neuroscience of trauma and will share their learnings about central nervous system responses.

The presenters discuss trauma-informed work, what it means to be trauma-informed and what it can look like within classroom spaces, front-line work and community. This session creates space to explore wisakacihowin (trauma) from an Indigenous lens that will honour Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing. The dialogue creates opportunities to learn through stories and build on strategies for professionals and educators working with Indigenous people. It provides education on the history of trauma for Indigenous peoples and the complexity within our communities.

Amber Dion and Terri Cardinal are nehiyaw iskwew (Cree women) who are trained Social Workers and have years of experience working within First Nation communities in various capacities. Both Amber and Terri now work at MacEwan University with post-secondary learners who are navigating their way through Western academia. They hope to inspire other educators/social workers/knowledge keepers/practitioners to enhance their knowledge regarding wisakacihowin and Indigenous trauma-informed practices.

Amber and Terri are also the creators of 2 Crees in a Pod, a Podcast that amplifies Indigenous voices to honour Indigenous helping practices. Their research has been focused on Indigenous trauma-informed practices that involve practice as ceremony, land-based initiatives, language, and culture.

RSD12 Kihcihkaw Askî, Live October 10




Citation Data

Author(s): Amber Dion and Terri Cardinal
Year: 2023
Title: Exploring Wisakacihowin (Trauma) and Indigenous Trauma-Informed Practices
Published in: Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design
Volume: RSD12
Article No.: pre-release
Host: Georgetown University
Location: Edmonton, CAN | ONLINE
Symposium Dates: October 6–20, 2023
First published: 15 July 2023
Last update: no update
Publisher Identification: ISSN 2371-8404