Decolonizing Healing Practices

February 10 2020

Mindfulness, from an indigenous approach

Marymound organizes learning opportunities throughout the year, presenting subjects that matter to people working in health care and social services. They’re doing it again on March 17 and 18, Decolonizing Healing Practices is a two day conference that will educate participants on indigenous approaches to mindfulness, life promotion rather than suicide prevention and ways of creating a “two-eyed” approach to healthcare and social services, meaning using the lens of western evidence-based sciences together with indigenous teachings, to enhance the quality of care we provide.

 “I think this subject matter speaks to such a wide audience, anyone who is looking for tools to make real change and create a connection between their own healing journey and the healing journey of the people they’re supporting or work with, will benefit from this conference. Dr. Yellowbird and Dr. Connors bring such a wealth of knowledge and expertise,” said Dawn Isaac, Senior Manager, Events & Special Projects for Marymound.

On March 17, Dr. Michael Yellowbird, a celebrated Indigenous scholar in social work and Indigenous studies and the Dean of the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Manitoba, will discuss how a person’s wellness can improve by combining Indigenous and Western-evidenced based sciences into the Medicine Wheel. The Medicine Wheel is a symbol used to represent wholeness, balance, and the natural cycles of life. It consists of a circle with four quadrants: Mind, Body, Spirit, and Emotions. He will also share his research on Indigenous approaches to mindfulness. Mindfulness is a practice that many of us are familiar with and Dr. Yellowbird will delve into the Indigenous approach to mindfulness that was around long before it became a mainstream health practice.

On March 18, Dr. Ed Connors, a Psychologist registered in the Province of Ontario and Elder for the Healing Lodge and Learning Centre and the Native Mental Health Association of Canada, will explore strength-based life promotion as a new model for addressing suicide within Indigenous communities. This is quickly becoming the approach of choice to prevent premature unnatural death/suicide. Dr. Connors will help participants understand how this concept has evolved from Indigenous perceptions about living long and healthy lives.

Participants will discover how embracing culture, wholeness and healing, will shift the dialogue from intergenerational trauma to intergenerational resilience.

The conference is also hoping to create better understanding and awareness surrounding decolonization, including:

  • To understand the history of colonization and embrace ancestral traditions and cultural values,
  • To recognize that decolonization is a healing journey that may involve a number of emotions including grief, anger, growth, and empowerment,
  • To support  Indigenous peoples and their right to self-determination, economically, politically, socially, and culturally
  • To support Indigenous research methodologies and ceremony as valid evidence-based practices

The two-day event has special student pricing as well as local indigenous artists and business owners selling their products on-site.

“This conference provides an opportunity to approach reconciliation in a meaningful way. You will leave feeling positive, empowered and ready to incorporate these practices into your personal and professional life,” said Isaac.

For more information and to register visit


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Members of our board and staff are gathered today to learn about reconciliation in a day facilitated by Indigenous Health (WRHA). One of the striking images we've seen is this tree illustrating the roots and the impacts of racism and discrimination on a patient's experience - the Determinants of Health. We're thankful to be able to spend this time together and to be able to discuss how we can more actively engage in reconciliation.
Les membres de notre conseil d'administration et notre personnel sont réunis aujourd'hui pour en apprendre davantage sur la réconciliation en une journée facilitée par Indigenous Health (WRHA). L'une des images frappantes que nous avons vues est cet arbre illustrant les racines et les impacts du racisme et de la discrimination sur l'expérience d'un patient - les déterminants de la santé. Nous sommes reconnaissants de pouvoir passer ce temps ensemble et de pouvoir discuter de la manière dont nous pouvons nous engager plus activement dans la réconciliation.
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