From my sewing basket ... : traditional native healing ceremonies and social work practice with native people
Master of Arts
SubjectTraditional medicine (Ontario, Northwestern)
Ojibwa Indians Medicine Ontario, Northwestern
Indians of North America (Medicine Ontario, Northwestern)
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Includes a general review of the literature and a study within the District of Thunder Bay in Ontario, Canada. The author has worked with the Healing Our Own Counseling Unit at a Native Women's Crisis Home, has participated in traditional healing ceremonies and has interviewed Elders. Ceremonies include the Pipe Ceremony, Woman's Circle, Sacred Circle, Full Moon Ceremony, Sweat Lodge, Fasting, and Vision Quest. -- leaves 8-10.In 19891 attended a healing workshop called 'Women Healing'. Elder Alana Abosawin, who has for some years worked with the homeless in Quebec sang a song that told a story about 'bush lady'. The song spoke to me of the truth of my light brown skin and dark hair and the hidden shame that follows with the lineage of the Indian woman. It frightened me. Today I know the past is our past, my past, their past. In that totality I seek awareness, clarity and acceptance. It was her eyes that were a thousand years old who saw through me and beyond me. It was the words of her song and the beat of the drum which summoned me from my place of slumber and began the journey towards understanding. Prior to any substantial influence by the Elders and Native people, I was drawn to a profession which as I understood was based on caring and giving of oneself. Dave Henry, an M.S.W, was influential in his work with the ideals behind unconditional care (Brown, J., 1978). Amongst Native and non Native people I observed examples of human kindness which served as a constant source of power generating an atmosphere of what I understand today as healing. This was in the acceptance, in the goodness of others and die strength that comes from being in a place of complete absence of judgment, without prejudice and with a firm willingness to believe, accept and listen. It was there that I was told that it would be beneficial to work with my own people. It was the first place that I observed Non-Native professionals give complete respect and recognition towards the Native helper. They recognized the ability of the Native person to work effectively and meaningfully with their own people. This thesis is a search for understanding, a quest for direction and a vision of what can exist for Native women, their families and communities. This is for those who come to the circle, who place their trust in each other and in the Creator to search for the things necessary so we can reach back with something good and strong.