A Day of Indigenous Health & Wellness
First Nations’ throughout Canada have long been disproportionately and deeply impacted by grief and loss in their communities. The global pandemic has further compounded this situation: creating deep wells of social isolation, heightened anxiety, stress and painful separation from cultural traditions, family gatherings and rituals that are an integral part of First Nations healing and wellness practices.
Recent findings of child remains near former Residential School sites has further perpetuated trauma, while also igniting a spark that calls for healing.
“The children revealed themselves to us for a reason, and we must find a way to heal – the time is now”. ~ Joanne Godfriedson, Resident Elder, Lumara Grief & Bereavement Care Society
At Lumara, we have long- believed that there is a direct correlation between our ability to respond to traumatic events with courage and resilience, and our experience of being embedded in a nurturing community.
We invite you to join members of our team alongside our panel of incredible Indigenous Elders/Leaders/Healers/Artists as we gather in community for the third season of our Indigenous Health & Wellness Series, which will provide insight, knowledge and inspiration for all those seeking light in the darkness of grief and hope for the future.
Shelley Joseph, Hekwa’gila’ogwa, has a lifetime of cultural exposure. Being immersed in the lessons and traditional ways of being, have shaped who she is. Shelley has been on her healing journey for more than 31 years and has combined her lived experience with education in the spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional well-being of people, families, and communities. She believes that awareness and action plans for change can sway the scope of disparity in our societies. She prides herself in holding safe space for people to learn, heal, and grow. She has advocated for Cultural Safety and Kindness her whole life and is passionate about nurturing relationships and true Reconciliation. Following the teachings from a lifetime of learning from elders and cultural leaders, Shelley is dedicated to learning and leading by example through her values.
Joe Keesickquayash, is of Ojibway and Cree background from Mishkeegogamang Ontario, and Red Sucker Lake, Manitoba. He is a father of five and has one grandchild. Joe graduated from the University of Toronto with a degree in Indigenous Studies and History. Currently Joe is working towards starting his own Indigenous craft business, and attends traditional ceremonies throughout the year.
In 2017, Joe and his family experienced the loss of their three year old son, who was born with a rare genetic condition During his son’s odyssey, Joe and his family remained hopeful that a diagnosis would be found to bring understanding to their son’s medical journey, and more so, to help support their grief journey.
Although the path to find a diagnosis was challenging as a father, Joe hopes that by sharing his grief journey, and his traditional approaches to understanding grief, he can help others who are experiencing grief and loss.
Shirley David (MISW), originally from the Gitxsan/Witset First Nation, she grew up with the Secwepemc people.
Shirley graduated with Master of Indigenous Social Work (MISW) and Bachelor of Indigenous Social Work (BISW). She has Addictions Counselor Certificate; Aboriginal Life Skills Facilitator Certificate; Aboriginal Trauma Certificate. She also completed courses/programs from the Justice Institute of British Columbia.
Shirley has over 40 years of professional and Traditional /cultural teachings not only came from the western teachings, but also from Spiritual and Cultural Teachers and Elders.
Shirley is qualified and experienced in both Traditional Indigenous based teachings and contemporary western base teachings.
Shirley is the RHSW /Therapist with Indian Residential School Survivors Society for the past 10 years.
Hello everyone I am Emhalhtsa7 , other wise known as Thomas Terry. I was born and raised St’at’imc and am proud of it. I am culturally strong due to my upbringing within our culture, hearing the language and songs throughout my life. I have been a Language/Culture Teacher for 6 years but have been doing it all my life. Am a hand drummer, a Bear dancer, still learning St’at’imc. Clean and sober for 23 years
Susan Dowan is of Swampy Cree background from Opaskwayak Cree Nation and Gods Lake Narrows – located in Manitoba’s Treaty 5 territory. She is a mother of five and grandmother of one. After graduating from the University of Toronto, she worked with Indigenous women and families at risk of violence for a number of years. Currently Susan works for a reconciliation project called Circles for Reconciliation.
Vernon Williams Jr.
Sgaalaanglaay Gaamdaamaay (Vernon Williams Jr.) belongs to Kuunlaanaas Raven Grizzly Bear of Yakin Point Haida Gwaii, Vernon is a Haida Nishga.
Resident Elder & Educator - Lumara
“Weytk ren skwest es Kiye’y7e Qwisp Nu’xwenxw ell Jo-Anne Gottfriedson Tk’emlu’psemc te Secwepemc. I am extremely proud to be Tk’emlu’psemc. I am a proud mother of two daughters, and a grandmother of five grandsons and a beautiful granddaughter. I also have many adopted children and grandchildren from various nations across the country. I am married to Reverend James Isbister from the Cree Nation, Ahtahakakoop Sandy Lake, Saskatchewan.”
Jo-Anne was educated at Simon Fraser University. She is a Certified Provincial Adult Instructor and a member in good standing with the BC College of Teachers. She instructed the Secwepemc language and culture at the Sk’elep School of Excellence for five years, was a faculty member at the Nicola Valley Technology Institute in Merritt, BC and an Instructor for Aboriginal Tourism BC. Most recently she worked with the First Nations Health Authority as part of a team who developed and taught the Indigenous End-Of-Life Guide Program, offered in partnership with the Continuing Education Department at Douglas College. For the past 11 years she was also the Executive Chair of the Day Scholar Certified Class Action for Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc, Sechelt First Nation and James Cree.
Jo-Anne credits her traditional education to the persistence and commitment of her parents, grandparents and various other Elders and teachers. Her accomplishments are testimony to her belief that formal education compliments traditional education, and that the traditions, beliefs, teaching and language of her ancestors is just as, or more important than any other education she has received. “My commitment and respect for my culture and traditions is of the utmost importance in all aspects of my life … I not only teach it, but live it with my family, community and nation.”