OBI Public Talks- Carol Hopkins: Promoting Mental Wellness in Indigenous Communities


I come from the wolf clan of the Lenape nation, otherwise known as the Delaware people. We’re located in southwestern Ontario. First Nations people have the experience of intergenerational trauma that comes
from various processes of colonization and oppression. The one that we know most about and talk about more now is the residential school experience and that
conversation has emerged the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. That
experience has created intergenerational trauma – so traumas that are passed from
one generation to another – and not just for one individual for whole families
and for whole communities and so that’s a significant difference between how we
might understand trauma as it affects the Canadian public and trauma in terms
of how it affects Indigenous people so not only do they not have access, or have
not had consistent access, to culturally appropriate, culturally safe
resources, they are left to carry the burden of communities and in terms of
how do they address this. Mental health is a conversation of those
deficits and in the public discourse we often hear about those types of issues
which leads people to think that the communities are left without any
strengths. There’s no conversation about resilience and the continuity of culture.
Mental wellness challenges us to shift the way that we think from the
narrow focus on deficits to see culture as a foundation of our strengths and
our resiliency.

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