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Indigenous/First Nations People and the Historical Trauma of Residential Schools

The discovery of over 1,300 unmarked graves of Indigenous First Nation children

at former residential school sites across the country has shocked Canadians.

National outrage has triggered calls for a reckoning over Canada's residential

school legacy.

For Indigenous First Nations people, the findings of these graves have exposed

old wounds and refreshed the sense of loss so many families experienced as their

children were forcibly taken away to residential schools.

The grief and trauma from these experiences have had a profound effect on First

Nations people, igniting a variety of mental health symptoms and, for many,

creating a sense of disconnection from themselves and their relationship with


Understanding how these institutions have affected whole communities and

families is key to helping Indigenous First Nations clients heal from the grief.

Envision has invited Shelley Spear Chief, a Clinical Social Worker and a leading

First Nation Presenter on issues of historical trauma to present an online

workshop entitled Working with Complex Traumatic Grief Within Indigenous First

Nation Peoples: the shock of the unmarked graves

Her presentation on November 5th, 2021 is designed to give mental health therapists an

increased understanding of the historical effects of grief and how it is now

identified as complex complicated grief.

In this workshop, Shelley will explain how the finding of unmarked graves has

exacerbated the symptoms of complex grief. She will identify obstacles in healing

due to the enormous effects of suicide, opioid crisis, and the COVID pandemic.

Therapists will also learn how to detect the different types of grief experienced by

Indigenous First Nation Peoples.

“The most important thing you have to have with our people is a relationship,”

says Spear Chief. Even if it’s online, when you invite your client in, invite them to

have a coffee or a tea so that they feel they are having a visit. They have to feel

safe, that they can trust you.”

Register for this workshop and acquire the tools all clinicians should have to help

their Indigenous First Nations clients heal from this dark chapter in Canada’s



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