Reconciling Humanity, on Skyward TV and Hopeful Radio. The spiritual & Mind Health perspective on Truth & Reconciliation for all. With Host Eleanor Hayward, Co-Host Jody Harbour and Guest Dennis Windego.

Reconciling Humanity with Psychotherapist Dennis Windego, Episode 5

Beautiful blessings to you this #ThinkingThursday 🌈
I’m thrilled to share with you this episode of #ReconcilingHumanity, links in comments and bio 🌟
This conversation was so beautiful, hearing the story of a man shift from addiction and thoughts of suicide, to observing the difference in his eyes, and voice after experiencing healing in community 💖
This is the power of indigenous tradition, assisted by Creator 🌎
How his Spirit name came through is awe inspiring 🙏
In this fifth episode Jody Harbour, co-founder of Grandmother’s Voice and I are joined by Indigenous Wholistic Psychotherapist Dennis Windego!
Dennis specializes in an indigenous, spiritual approach to healing for mental health issues, addictions, grief and trauma. This is part one of a two part series.
We are passionate about creating time and space for healing connections in community. It is our purpose to bring together people in relationship for wellness and reconciliation.
This is the spiritual path to mental health, mission of our platforms Skyward TV & Hopeful Radio ☮
How can we reconnect to our Souls, our village, and our environment across Canada and beyond?
Your feedback, questions and shares are most welcome!
Make a wonderful day 💗

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Hello, everybody. Welcome to Reconciling Humanity. I’m Eleanor Hayward. Really grateful to introduce


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my co-host Jody Harbour of Grandmother’s Voice and Dennis Windego, who is a psychotherapist.


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And I am so grateful for your attendance here. We are discussing the spiritual path to mental


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wellness, hosted on Skyward TV and Hopeful Radio. Welcome. And on that spiritual path


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to mental wellness, an important that an issue that’s important to me is the concept of decolonization,


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and having this conversation because I don’t think it’s just one thing. And as much as


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I respect that decolonization is a political process, it’s a structural, institutional policy


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issue. It’s also, from my perspective, a mindset issue, a heart set issue. How do we shift


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perspective? How do we shift our value system? And I really honour the truth and reconciliation


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process that we’ve got here in Canada. I’m filming in Burlington, which is between Milton


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and, sorry, Toronto and Niagara Falls. And really grateful, wanting to say a little bit


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of a land acknowledgement. As a settler descendant, I acknowledge the past and current stewards


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of this land, the Haudenosaunee, Wendat-Huron and Attawandoran peoples. I honour and respect


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the wonderful elements of creation that exist, including the four directions, the land, waters,


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plants, animals and ancestors that walked before us. The territory that I’m on is subject


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to the Dish with One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant, which is an agreement between the Haudenosaunee


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Six Nations Confederacy, the Anishinaabe Ojibwe, and the allied nations to peaceably share


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and care for the lands and relationships around the Great Lakes. We acknowledge and thank


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the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation for sharing their traditional territory with us.


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And I am personally grateful for the autumn season. I love the colours and the fresh air


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and the chill in the bones. I prefer neither the extreme heat or the cold personally. I


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love the milder temperatures of autumn and the fresh harvest that comes with it, and blessed


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  1. So Jody, you are the co-founder of Grandmother’s Voice. Would you please share with us what


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you do? And then you can introduce Dennis!


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Hi, nice to see you and everyone that will be joining us today or later on as you as


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you find this video somewhere on your path. I’m Jody Harbour and I’m, my great grandmother


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was of the Cayuga Nation, Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. I’m urban. I’ve grown


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up in the urban, Ontario, love to travel and I follow my heart. Grandmother’s Voice is


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a part of my ancestry. I am connected to spirit and I trust that I’m here to speak my truth,


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help heal whatever needs to be healed. I’m a helper and my path’s cross with Dennis a


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couple of times and I reached out and said, how can I help? What do you do? I want to


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know more. When I saw him, there was this essence that reminded me of my father in


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strength and I just was, how can I serve? And he’s amazing. And Dennis, I think this


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is, we’re honoured to have you here and this time, this world is, we’re in some, I think


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some big changes and the Indigenous voice, knowledge, wisdom, ancient wisdom is so important


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and you transfer that knowledge in the work that you do. So I’m grateful to have you here.


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Please introduce yourself and tell people how great I think you are.


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Oh, miigwech, thank you. My name is Dennis Windego. I’m also known as Zoongwebines, which is 


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my original name given to me through ceremony, through life, a process of what we call today


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a rite of passage. Zoongwebines Dijonikaz, Biju Douteen, Nigigoonsiminikaaning Dounjeet.


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So that’s the community I come from, Nigigoonsiminikaaning First Nation in Northwestern Ontario,


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which is part of Treaty 3. I also live in Ottawa. I have connections in Thunder Bay


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and Sudbury and family connection because that’s where my children are. And I do this


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kind of work. I’ve been doing this work for many years, over 30 years at least. I can’t


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even remember. It seems like I just started because it’s always so interesting and new


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information always coming up, and new ways of looking at issues and looking at things.


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But what has remained constant is the spiritual aspect of the work that I’ve been doing. It’s


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always been there. I come from a family of 12. There was 12 of us. And my father was


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a very traditional, very spiritual kind of person. And he knew about the medicines. He


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knew about that way of life and he would teach us. So we would be picking whatever it was,


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berries or roots or whatever it was. And we would pick it up, prepare it, dry it out,


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mix it up, and bag it up in whatever way we needed. And he would travel around the country


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doing ceremony and doing healing and doctoring for people. And that was happening during


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the years growing up where, of course, he didn’t think I was paying attention. I didn’t


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think I was paying attention either. But you know that all that experience, that knowledge


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in that way of life is encoded inside of you, is encoded inside. When you think you weren’t


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listening, it just comes up and it’s like, aha, how did I know this? And I truly believe


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that we all have that connection, that very strong and powerful connection that we all have


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And that’s what I rely on a lot, mainly in the work that I do with people. In Ontario,


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I am known as a Social Worker. I guess I do psychotherapy. People say that I’m a healer.


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I don’t know what to call myself. When people say, what’s your title? I say, I don’t know.


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I have many titles. And I also work in Quebec and I’m registered with Psychologie du Quebec


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as a permit holder to do psychotherapy there. But my work remains constant right across


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wherever I go. And it’s that spiritual part, that spiritual aspect. And when we talk about


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land-based healing, I think about where we look and we have to look inside of ourselves,


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because we are the land. And if we are the land, we are also medicine. And the elders


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always said, whatever you seek is already inside of you. So we have to look into our


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land for our medicine, for our direction, for our way. We are dealing with so many issues


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as human beings in this world. And we have to look at what is available to us and how


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we use that. Is there any questions right now? Like, I’m not sure where you want me


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to go with all this. So if you can ask me a question.


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So what does colonization mean to you? And then therefore, what does decolonization mean


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to you and your work?


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Do you want the Webster Dictionary definition? What does it mean to me? Well, I guess to


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me it means the taking over, the imposition of values, of culture, of language, of institutions


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and everything that we see in life. And it’s about devaluing the marginalized people that


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have been colonized. And that marginalization continues in present day form. It’s not something


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that happened or started in 1492. And it’s about past. It’s about right now and how it continues.


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And because we have been devalued, we have been marginalized and continue to


00:10:07,760 –> 00:10:17,160

struggle with those issues. We have to look at what is our value system, what is our beliefs,


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what is our ways. And it comes down to our teachings that come from a place that we know


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as, since time immemorial. Since time immemorial takes us way back and connects us way back


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before 1492 and our ways, our ceremonies. And to me, this is decolonizing is to understand


00:10:46,360 –> 00:10:52,520

those ways. It’s to know those ways and it’s to practice those ways. But it doesn’t necessarily


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mean, oh, we have to go back and live those old ways. It means we’re bringing the values,


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we’re bringing the practices, we’re bringing the medicine from everything that is about


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that into the present and finding our way out of that darkness of colonialism because


00:11:11,680 –> 00:11:20,480

it’s all around us. But also we need to acknowledge and to find balance in that, in how our lives


00:11:20,480 –> 00:11:28,360

are supported through that process that we have received from whatever you want to call


00:11:28,360 –> 00:11:39,820

it, development or colonization. So it’s always a balance that we have to look for. So let


00:11:39,820 –> 00:11:53,760

me talk about a situation. I was in a community and I was doing a group healing program. I


00:11:53,760 –> 00:12:01,640

had about 40 people in there and I had some elders and support people that were there


00:12:01,640 –> 00:12:11,960

as part of my team. And as we’re going through this healing process, something triggered


00:12:11,960 –> 00:12:23,360

for this young man. And this young man was known to be suicidal, angry, depressed and


00:12:23,360 –> 00:12:31,700

into addictions. So he had not so good of a reputation in his community and people didn’t


00:12:31,700 –> 00:12:38,120

really trust him. And during one of the sessions, he was overwhelmed and he started to lose


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control of himself emotionally, even fictively. And he started to talk in a voice that sounded


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really rough and his voice changed and what he was going through. It just overwhelmed


00:12:54,320 –> 00:13:03,600

everybody and the group scattered and they left the room in a panic. But I know that


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this is a reaction. This is a reaction to some kind of woundedness. This is a reaction


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to some kind of pain. And we need to be able to stabilize some of that reaction to get


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the woundedness of all this and what is the wound all about without getting into a lifelong


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story because the body, spirit is already telling the story in those behaviors. And this is


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a story of colonialism, and colonialism lives inside of us and how we interpret our lived


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experiences and our, you know, if we’re dealing with racism, if we’re dealing with violence,


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if we’re dealing with discrimination and all these issues. So this is all coming up for


00:13:57,680 –> 00:14:08,440

him in this. And I had the elders bring a buffalo hide. They had this buffalo rug and


00:14:08,440 –> 00:14:16,560

we laid it down on the floor and I got the young man to lay on that rug. And I started


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to pray over him. And as I’m praying, I asked the elders to stand, to sit and pray on that


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side of the room and the women to pray on that side of the other side of the room. And


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I said, just pray and we’ll see. I’ll see what happens here. I’ll see where it’s going


00:14:38,600 –> 00:14:45,520

to take us. I truly believe that as helpers or as guides or whatever you want to call


00:14:45,520 –> 00:14:52,800

as healers or to me, the person that I work with is the healer. That person isn’t even


00:14:52,800 –> 00:15:00,720

a client because to me client is the lone term that we label people as, oh, this is


00:15:00,720 –> 00:15:08,880

a client. I seen 20 clients today or whatever it is, right? This is a person. This is a


00:15:08,880 –> 00:15:15,760

person who has experience, who has a story to tell. And this is someone that this to


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me, this is a healer, but he just hasn’t realized that part of him yet. So I’m sitting beside


00:15:22,060 –> 00:15:30,920

this healer. I kneel down beside him. And as I’m noticing his energy, I could feel this


00:15:30,920 –> 00:15:37,840

really darkness about him. And I asked him into that and I asked him, what’s it like


00:15:37,840 –> 00:15:43,940

in that place that seems to be attacking you? It’s me, it’s like there’s a place attacking


00:15:43,940 –> 00:15:49,000

you or you’re trying to run away from it. Can you help me understand what that is? Because


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I’m not quite getting it. And he said, I’m just lost. I’ve been lost for so long. It’s


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just, I am in that place of darkness and it’s, there’s nobody there. Nobody cares about me.


00:16:01,440 –> 00:16:08,080

My family is gone there. I don’t have my parents. I don’t have any siblings. I’m all alone now.


00:16:08,080 –> 00:16:18,720

Most of my family has passed on. And so he’s describing a lot of trauma, a lot of traumatic


00:16:18,720 –> 00:16:24,780

losses and a lot of other types of traumatic experiences that he’s, that he’d been dealing


00:16:24,780 –> 00:16:32,120

with. And, and as he’s talking about that, I noticed something moving inside the body.


00:16:32,120 –> 00:16:41,560

And so I brought out the Eagle fan and started to brush him down. And, and I noticed something,


00:16:41,560 –> 00:16:46,160

something else where it seemed like there was something stuck in his throat, something


00:16:46,160 –> 00:16:54,400

in that area. So I got beside him and I told him just to start blowing that through, but


00:16:54,400 –> 00:17:02,800

be very gentle with that. Because if we have medicine inside of us, I want him to tap into


00:17:02,800 –> 00:17:13,480

that medicine and to move that energy. If that energy, some of that energy is his, some


00:17:13,480 –> 00:17:19,800

of it is his family’s, some of it is the people who harmed him. Some of it, it comes from


00:17:19,800 –> 00:17:25,980

so many different places. And so his, his whole body, his whole breathing is telling


00:17:25,980 –> 00:17:32,960

a story of his history without getting into the way we tell stories, because our bodies,


00:17:32,960 –> 00:17:39,000

our spirits tell stories in a whole different way. And as he’s doing that, I could feel


00:17:39,000 –> 00:17:44,400

that energy. And as, when we are sitting beside people, when we’re helping them, sometimes


00:17:44,400 –> 00:17:53,600

we take the hit of that. Sometimes we, we absorb it. And I could feel that I was absorbing


00:17:53,600 –> 00:18:00,280

it and I was taking it in, but I encourage him just to keep releasing it. And as, and


00:18:00,280 –> 00:18:06,920

as he’s laying there, he’s, he’s releasing out all of his emotions. And I’m not asking


00:18:06,920 –> 00:18:14,600

him what it’s about. I’m not asking him to tell me what his story is, because I’ve seen


00:18:14,600 –> 00:18:22,960

this many times in the field where people are going through something and the practitioner


00:18:22,960 –> 00:18:29,280

is, is trying to get a story. What is the story about it? And even if they tell the


00:18:29,280 –> 00:18:35,720

story that might not be the root cause of it, that might be the reaction place of it.


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So we want to get to the root cause of it. So he’s just releasing it all out. And because


00:18:41,920 –> 00:18:48,920

that all those symptoms that I’m seeing, it has a context to it. And to me, it has a historical


00:18:48,920 –> 00:18:58,320

context and that his, that history includes his siblings, his parents, his grandparents.


00:18:58,320 –> 00:19:04,160

It goes into that lineage where that pain has been transmitted through generations and


00:19:04,160 –> 00:19:09,960

he’s experiencing all of it. And it comes from, and it seems to be when I look into


00:19:09,960 –> 00:19:17,560

his eyes, he has this far, far away look as if he’s just staring somewhere way beyond


00:19:17,560 –> 00:19:24,200

today, way beyond right now. And I had him notice that I want you to notice in the eyes


00:19:24,200 –> 00:19:30,240

what I’m noticing in your eyes. In other words, I’m allowing him to see himself through my


00:19:30,240 –> 00:19:36,880

eyes and what I’m seeing. And he said, yeah, this goes back a long ways and it just keeps


00:19:36,880 –> 00:19:45,480

attacking me. And so there’s an attacking to it. And he’s actually telling me stories


00:19:45,480 –> 00:19:53,920

of intergenerational trauma that are living inside of his body. And then I hear this,


00:19:53,920 –> 00:20:00,200

it’s not a voice, but it’s a sense of knowing. And I know that the spirits are in the room.


00:20:00,200 –> 00:20:09,440

And this name, for some reason, I say to him, your name is, and I gave him a name. I don’t


00:20:09,440 –> 00:20:17,600

even recall that name. And I said it in the Anishinaabe language and I don’t even speak


00:20:17,600 –> 00:20:30,120

Anishinaabe. And when he said his name, he stood up and he said his name eight times,


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eight times and his whole body shifted, his whole body changed. And then his, the glow


00:20:38,440 –> 00:20:46,800

on his face, the glow of his eyes, it was just shining. And then he said that he really


00:20:46,800 –> 00:20:52,240

wants to live. He just doesn’t know how with all of this pain, but he wants to learn how


00:20:52,240 –> 00:20:59,960

to put that away, how to find himself to find that identity. So we just worked with, first


00:20:59,960 –> 00:21:08,440

of all, the individual, which is I, he had an overwhelming experience, something triggered


00:21:08,440 –> 00:21:16,720

him. So I was triggered. And then as we process that, he noticed we, we are, we have been


00:21:16,720 –> 00:21:23,520

dealing with this family community. And all of that is important. And it’s all stuck and


00:21:23,520 –> 00:21:31,520

stored in his body in every cell, every bone, every muscle, every, everything. And we’re


00:21:31,520 –> 00:21:37,120

slowly flushing it out like a river, be that river, what kind of river, what kind of water


00:21:37,120 –> 00:21:45,080

do you need to be that river and be that become that. Because if you say, Oh, there’s a water


00:21:45,080 –> 00:21:50,000

that I remember, you’re not that water, you need to be that water, because that’s the


00:21:50,000 –> 00:21:57,640

spiritual connection. But it’s also the physical connection, because 80%, maybe more, maybe


00:21:57,640 –> 00:22:04,560

less of our body is made of water. So we’re connecting into our medicine into our water


00:22:04,560 –> 00:22:13,560

system. And in the breathing, the oxygen, the air, and the memories, the roots, you


00:22:13,560 –> 00:22:18,920

know, like the tree roots, the plant roots, that’s how the brain system is kind of designed.


00:22:18,920 –> 00:22:24,220

So we’re getting into the history into the root causes of all of this. He’s tapping into


00:22:24,220 –> 00:22:31,000

all of his medicine. And as he works in with that darkness of whatever it is, everything


00:22:31,000 –> 00:22:36,720

that he’s been carrying, because we do carry our histories with us. And now there’s light


00:22:36,720 –> 00:22:46,080

there. There’s love, there’s compassion. All those medicines that I just named. And we


00:22:46,080 –> 00:22:54,640

all have that inside of us. And he’s standing on ground on rock, on Turtle Island. And then


00:22:54,640 –> 00:23:03,060

he announces his name. And his even his voice changed. He’s very calm. And, and he loves


00:23:03,060 –> 00:23:09,600

his name. He finds, and he feels like, I know who I am. So now, so now he worked first with


00:23:09,600 –> 00:23:19,040

I, we, and then returned to I, because I now, can connect and reconnect with community.


00:23:19,040 –> 00:23:26,000

The first I, he was disconnected. In the we, he’s connected to everything and everyone


00:23:26,000 –> 00:23:36,120

and even even what happened before he was born. And going to I, ah, this is who I am.


00:23:36,120 –> 00:23:44,520

But the I is in connection is in relationship with everyone, all my relations. And, and


00:23:44,520 –> 00:23:50,960

he felt a lot better. And he left. So now I had a debriefing with with the elders and


00:23:50,960 –> 00:23:57,560

with the women. And what the women said when when they were praying, and they looked at


00:23:57,560 –> 00:24:03,480

the wall, they said there’s this big Eagle that that was there flapping his wings. And


00:24:03,480 –> 00:24:12,240

they said before you even gave him that name, we knew his name. We heard that name. So we


00:24:12,240 –> 00:24:19,280

knew you were going to give him that name. And I was like, Really? I was just so impressed


00:24:19,280 –> 00:24:25,800

with that. Because when I was part of this, it was like me watching me doing this, but


00:24:25,800 –> 00:24:31,840

it wasn’t really me. I don’t know if you can understand that. But, and then when the elders


00:24:31,840 –> 00:24:38,400

talked, there was this one elder, he was already in his in his 90s. And he was shedding some


00:24:38,400 –> 00:24:45,520

tears. And he said, I remember when I was a little boy, he said, I remember when I was


00:24:45,520 –> 00:24:50,840

a little boy, my great grandfather, he said he used to do ceremonies, he used to


00:24:50,840 –> 00:24:58,220

do healing. And what you just did there is something I seen my great grandfather do,


00:24:58,220 –> 00:25:05,520

when he was helping people and he was doctoring. So how could I do something that I’ve never


00:25:05,520 –> 00:25:14,840

done before? But yet, this elder validated it. He said he’s seen it before. If I’ve never


00:25:14,840 –> 00:25:23,520

seen it before, how could I even do a ceremony or a doctoring that I’ve never been exposed


00:25:23,520 –> 00:25:33,200

to? Because it’s that strong spiritual connection. It’s very powerful. Because what we do today,


00:25:33,200 –> 00:25:43,340

it comes from a someplace inside of us. It comes through our DNA. I was merely a passage


00:25:43,340 –> 00:25:49,120

or a vessel to do this because that’s what it felt like. I’m watching myself do this,


00:25:49,120 –> 00:25:59,600

but I’m not doing it. I’m, I’m walking this. I’m also an observer. But at the same time,


00:25:59,600 –> 00:26:07,720

I’m a guide and I’m going through this with this young man. And, and then what happened


00:26:07,720 –> 00:26:15,040

after that, people in the community would tell me, Oh, you’re a medicine man. And I’d


00:26:15,040 –> 00:26:21,640

say, No, I’m just a social worker. I just help people. I just do what I can. They said,


00:26:21,640 –> 00:26:26,880

No, you’re a medicine man. And these, and people would come to me with their regalia,


00:26:26,880 –> 00:26:33,520

their, their sacred items, and they would want me to bless them. They would bring their


00:26:33,520 –> 00:26:40,520

tobacco to me and they would say, you gave this name to this young man. I want my name


00:26:40,520 –> 00:26:49,920

and you give me a name. And I was like, well, I don’t, I’m not gifted like that. And, you


00:26:49,920 –> 00:26:55,160

know, I got a lot, I had received a lot of requests there. And now here’s the community


00:26:55,160 –> 00:27:02,440

healing piece. Now, when the elder talked about, he watched his grandfather do this


00:27:02,440 –> 00:27:06,880

when he was a child, his great grandfather do this when he was a child, he said, we lost


00:27:06,880 –> 00:27:15,120

our way. It was after Residential Schools came in. And now we were too afraid to practice


00:27:15,120 –> 00:27:22,960

our ways. And he said, what I learned today, and what I want to tell my community, he said,


00:27:22,960 –> 00:27:31,800

we have to return to our way to help people. So to me, that’s decolonizing our approaches to healing. 


00:27:31,800 –> 00:27:41,200

We have what is called scientific research, and it follows a certain procedure.


00:27:41,200 –> 00:27:51,320

But we also have spiritual research. And it also follows a procedure very similar to scientific.


00:27:51,320 –> 00:28:03,360

And in a good scientific research, it stands the test of time. And what I just told you,


00:28:03,360 –> 00:28:09,200

what I just shared with you, it stands the test of time, because it came from way before


00:28:09,200 –> 00:28:16,800

my lifetime, way before even this elder who was in his 90s already before his lifetime.


00:28:16,800 –> 00:28:23,920

It came through all those generations like, and it’s, and it’s valid, it’s reliable,


00:28:23,920 –> 00:28:33,520

it’s evidence based — in spirit. It has all the same elements as a good scientific research report. 


00:28:33,520 –> 00:28:44,280

It just has a different way of being shared. Because with scientific research,


00:28:44,280 –> 00:28:52,360

you need to have a tangible document in front of you. In our way, we sit in a circle, we


00:28:52,360 –> 00:29:00,480

share stories like this. I cannot give you a detailed analysis of everything that happened


00:29:00,480 –> 00:29:07,080

in that in that day, in that moment. Some of it I don’t even understand. Because it’s


00:29:07,080 –> 00:29:15,320

not for me to understand. But this young man, he understands it, because his life changed


00:29:15,320 –> 00:29:24,920

moving forward from that time. So to me, that’s decolonizing. And to me, he was also holding


00:29:24,920 –> 00:29:32,640

the history of colonialism inside of him. I don’t know if that makes sense? 


00:29:32,640 –> 00:29:39,440

That makes a lot of sense! Yes, yes. That was so powerful. So beautiful. Yeah. You know, and


00:29:39,440 –> 00:29:46,960

so much in there. But what I heard, and I’m hoping that the non indigenous people, we’re


00:29:46,960 –> 00:29:51,920

all indigenous, but in this moment, there’s this, you know, when we talk about Reconciling Humanity, 


00:29:51,920 –> 00:29:57,040

we’re talking about how do we bring this knowledge in a good way, share it with


00:29:57,040 –> 00:30:03,040

the people, because the colonized, like this, it’s happened to all of us. You specifically


00:30:03,040 –> 00:30:09,320

talk about a community. And you know, maybe, you know, we’re assuming an indigenous community,


00:30:09,320 –> 00:30:13,240

these communities that you work with that, you know, are in remote communities that don’t


00:30:13,240 –> 00:30:17,680

have what we have in our urban world. So they’re already marginalized, they’re already don’t


00:30:17,680 –> 00:30:22,200

have everything. But really, they, they have everything, you know, when they when they’re


00:30:22,200 –> 00:30:26,280

returned to their culture. And so this is what I learned from watching you and just


00:30:26,280 –> 00:30:30,620

listening to you. I’m remembering all of these times I’ve been in the space where you’re


00:30:30,620 –> 00:30:37,960

practicing and in that moment with the people, you’re not you’re not listening to their voice,


00:30:37,960 –> 00:30:42,440

you’re watching their body, you’re watching them, you’re in that that essence and spirit.


00:30:42,440 –> 00:30:48,160

And so, kind of sticking to our dialogue here, and what we’re trying to explain to people


00:30:48,160 –> 00:30:58,200

is how now do we move forward? And how do you share this knowledge with, the, with everyone?


00:30:58,200 –> 00:31:02,440

The people who are doing this work, this social work and are not indigenous, because we know


00:31:02,440 –> 00:31:07,800

that there’s, you know, there’s this stigma around what’s indigenous is indigenous and


00:31:07,800 –> 00:31:14,120

appropriation and, you know, how in your practice and because you do have a program beginning


00:31:14,120 –> 00:31:21,400

in 2024. And happy to say that Grandmother’s Voice is supporting, you know, helping bring


00:31:21,400 –> 00:31:27,720

bring this to the mainstream, you know, to the Western medicine that’s, you know, trying


00:31:27,720 –> 00:31:34,040

to figure out how do they embed indigenous knowledge and ancient wisdom into this system,


00:31:34,040 –> 00:31:42,080

or integrate it, or work alongside. So how how do you see that happening within your, you


00:31:42,080 –> 00:31:48,640

know, your training or practice that you’re bringing forward to society?


00:31:48,640 –> 00:31:59,440

Well, one of the messages that is pretty constant, I always share is that we all come from a


00:31:59,440 –> 00:32:07,200

land somewhere, every one of us, who’s ever sit in that circle in that audience, or they


00:32:07,200 –> 00:32:13,360

are participants or trainees as part of a program, we all come from a land somewhere,


00:32:13,360 –> 00:32:19,720

we’re all indigenous to somewhere. And we all have that connection, that spiritual connection


00:32:19,720 –> 00:32:31,840

to land, because it is part of us, it is who we are. Some people have activities that strengthen


00:32:31,840 –> 00:32:37,160

that spiritual connection, like for example, up in the up in the Cree Nation, they have


00:32:37,160 –> 00:32:45,320

what is called the goose hunt, that’s part of their culture. And, and anytime I’m doing


00:32:45,320 –> 00:32:50,840

a workshop or training or whatever, and if there’s a flock of geese, or even a lone


00:32:50,840 –> 00:32:56,720

goose that comes flying by and he, and he makes his goose call, I lose the whole group


00:32:56,720 –> 00:32:59,660

because they’re going to go outside and they’re going to look in the sky and they’re going


00:32:59,660 –> 00:33:05,960

to start making a goose call, you know, that’s to me, that’s the cultural cues, the cultural


00:33:05,960 –> 00:33:14,240

cues, and that defines who they are as a people, who they are as a nation, and their activities


00:33:14,240 –> 00:33:19,480

culturally and that connects them and binds them. That’s a very powerful and spiritual


00:33:19,480 –> 00:33:26,040

connection. But if you, but if we look at spirit in a different way, some of them are


00:33:26,040 –> 00:33:31,880

traditional, some of them are Anglican, some of them are Protestant, and that doesn’t really


00:33:31,880 –> 00:33:40,040

unite them that basically, you know, creates some problems. But when they’re practicing


00:33:40,040 –> 00:33:46,940

their cultural spiritual ways, it’s connecting them. And we all need to find that inside


00:33:46,940 –> 00:33:53,840

of us. So part of training is having people go through a process of introspecting, who


00:33:53,840 –> 00:34:01,120

am I? Who am I? Where do I come from? Where is my land? What are my teachings that have


00:34:01,120 –> 00:34:08,680

sustained me, that has helped my community, my people? Where do I come from? And even


00:34:08,680 –> 00:34:17,160

if it’s, you know, whatever side or whatever position you’re in in society, whether on


00:34:17,160 –> 00:34:24,480

the land or whether on a boat, we all can walk this path together. Because we all come


00:34:24,480 –> 00:34:32,960

from a land somewhere. And, but it’s to acknowledge that and to find and to build strategies in


00:34:32,960 –> 00:34:38,880

addressing those things, instead of having those issues of divide and conquer separate


00:34:38,880 –> 00:34:46,880

us and keep us separated. We need to find that power in, in each process to work together


00:34:46,880 –> 00:34:59,480

to move forward together. When I look at the history of Indigenous people and Canada, it


00:34:59,480 –> 00:35:09,840

is a very complicated history. And, and we need to look at that history, whether it makes


00:35:09,840 –> 00:35:16,220

you feel comfortable or uncomfortable, we need to look at it. However it affects you


00:35:16,220 –> 00:35:22,360

or however you think about it. It’s a, it’s an opportunity to go through a process of


00:35:22,360 –> 00:35:28,520

introspection. How, why is it hitting me like this? What is it about it that’s hitting my


00:35:28,520 –> 00:35:37,160

gut that’s hitting me in the body? What is it about this information? And it’s to examine


00:35:37,160 –> 00:35:47,680

that because it’s to reconcile that within oneself, within that self. And then are you


00:35:47,680 –> 00:35:54,100

going to take a new position, a new position in how you do the work? Because I think it’s


00:35:54,100 –> 00:36:01,460

always important that we position ourselves in a way, in a good way, as they say, to do


00:36:01,460 –> 00:36:13,880

it in a good way. So that we’re, we are helping people and that we’re not continuing to create


00:36:13,880 –> 00:36:25,280

this process of colonization and, but to move forward and to change things to the way that


00:36:25,280 –> 00:36:33,340

people understand their world. There’s a lot of different exercises, there’s a lot of different


00:36:33,340 –> 00:36:43,280

teachings. And in the program, I would supervise everyone in how they’re doing the process.


00:36:43,280 –> 00:36:49,860

You know, to look at when beliefs get in the way, what are those beliefs, because it’s


00:36:49,860 –> 00:36:59,080

up to that person to reconcile them to look at differently. One question, this professor


00:36:59,080 –> 00:37:08,240

of mine, he asked us, would your parents lie to you? And of course, we all said, no way,


00:37:08,240 –> 00:37:15,640

no way, my parents would never lie to me. And but as we discussed it, and as we went


00:37:15,640 –> 00:37:23,200

through a process of introspection with it, I realized my father did lie to me. There


00:37:23,200 –> 00:37:29,580

are things that offer to me as truth, which were not based on truth. He did lie to me.


00:37:29,580 –> 00:37:36,640

But what was the intent of those lies? There was to protect me, to help me. But also, why


00:37:36,640 –> 00:37:43,200

were the lies there? Well, because somebody else lied to him. Somebody else didn’t really


00:37:43,200 –> 00:37:50,920

teach him the truth of everything around colonialism. And, and he truly believed those things. 


00:37:50,920 –> 00:37:57,880

So he passed it on. And so he lied to us. So we really need to look at that and explain


00:37:57,880 –> 00:38:07,240

and ask ourselves. Everything my parents taught me. Did they lie to me too? And probably the


00:38:07,240 –> 00:38:18,760

answer would be yes. But was that lie intentional or non intentional? Was it, you know, what


00:38:18,760 –> 00:38:25,680

is it based on? And can you challenge that? Because it becomes our belief system, we need


00:38:25,680 –> 00:38:36,800

to challenge that. So in that, in the program, you’re actually getting your own therapy.


00:38:36,800 –> 00:38:42,200

You’re actually doing your own intergenerational trauma type of therapy. You’re looking at


00:38:42,200 –> 00:38:48,720

your own family systems, your own community, your own way of being. And to look at what


00:38:48,720 –> 00:38:55,040

is it you need to adjust. But you’re also learning strategies in helping people heal.


00:38:55,040 –> 00:39:01,800

We are all spiritual beings having a human experience. We are all that’s, those spiritual


00:39:01,800 –> 00:39:08,560

beings. It doesn’t it’s not owned by indigenous people. It’s owned by all people where they


00:39:08,560 –> 00:39:16,080

are all spiritual. And we can work in those ways. But if but if I share something that


00:39:16,080 –> 00:39:23,840

comes specifically from my people, I want, I want people to acknowledge that. Just the


00:39:23,840 –> 00:39:27,480

way I acknowledge, Oh, this is what I learned from the Cree Nation. This is what I learned


00:39:27,480 –> 00:39:37,200

from the Mohawk people. I would acknowledge that. And I wouldn’t take it on as my own.


00:39:37,200 –> 00:39:42,280

Just like in any kind of when we’re doing literature reviews, and if we use some of


00:39:42,280 –> 00:39:49,080

that information, we need we need to cite it. Right. So so we also must do that, because


00:39:49,080 –> 00:39:56,640

there’s also a history of appropriation, you know, our ways being taken and stolen, and


00:39:56,640 –> 00:40:01,120

somebody else putting their name on it and saying, This is my original thought, this


00:40:01,120 –> 00:40:08,880

is my original model, this is mine. But yet they had taken it from indigenous person, and


00:40:08,880 –> 00:40:16,040

not giving them any credit. And I think that helps that would help to, to build some, I


00:40:16,040 –> 00:40:24,120

don’t know, accountability, but also some value in, in, in our ways, because there is


00:40:24,120 –> 00:40:30,480

a lot of value in our ways. Yes, thank you so much Dennis.


00:40:30,480 –> 00:40:36,040

Amazing. Yeah. So there.


00:40:36,040 –> 00:40:44,920

I also want to say this other thing. I also had a few managers take the program. And they


00:40:44,920 –> 00:40:51,760

loved it. Because as a manager, they have employees, and sometimes those employees need


00:40:51,760 –> 00:40:58,560

support for the work they’re doing, but also the emotional impact that might have on them.


00:40:58,560 –> 00:41:03,440

So it’s good that they that they have this training, and that they’re able to provide


00:41:03,440 –> 00:41:10,160

that kind of supervision to their employees, even if they are not therapists. But I’ve also


00:41:10,160 –> 00:41:17,320

had non-native managers come in and take the training. And it could see how sometimes the


00:41:17,320 –> 00:41:26,240

the people that they’re supervising might on it might unintentionally be applying those


00:41:26,240 –> 00:41:36,080

colonial ways and reinforcing them. And when they see that now, they help their workers


00:41:36,080 –> 00:41:45,000

to approach it in a decolonizing way. So then they have the rules to change organizations,


00:41:45,000 –> 00:41:52,040

or change the way the work is being done. Because colonialism affects like you said,


00:41:52,040 –> 00:41:58,520

every part of society, it’s in policies, it’s, it’s even in day to day interactions, like,


00:41:58,520 –> 00:42:05,920

like for example, there’s this, there’s this woman who, who, who, who came to me for, you


00:42:05,920 –> 00:42:10,920

know, because she was very frustrated with Child and Family Services. And she was dealing


00:42:10,920 –> 00:42:19,040

with a, not with a native Child and Family Services agency. And she was a foster mother.


00:42:19,040 –> 00:42:28,920

And her, she was taking care of her, her, her niece and nieces and nephews. And, and


00:42:28,920 –> 00:42:36,720

her nieces and nephews would call her grandma, grandma, because that is culturally appropriate.


00:42:36,720 –> 00:42:44,000

That is like we do not follow all the time the nuclear family system. Where, oh, no,


00:42:44,000 –> 00:42:53,280

that’s your aunt, that’s not your grandma. So, so the agency was, you know, giving


00:42:53,280 –> 00:42:59,140

her the riot act. You’re not the grandmother. You’re the auntie. You’re not the grandmother.


00:42:59,140 –> 00:43:04,120

And so even the manager said, you’re not the grandmother. You have to stop that because


00:43:04,120 –> 00:43:11,320

you’re confusing the children. But she’s right. She is the grandmother in our cultural way.


00:43:11,320 –> 00:43:21,640

So, so this is what I mean. The belief system, as you were sayin, and the values. Yeah, that belief system,


00:43:21,640 –> 00:43:33,960

but also, you know, the nuclear, the nuclear family system versus the cultural family system.


00:43:33,960 –> 00:43:40,920

And the roles that people play. Thank you. I think that’s a good place to wrap up our


00:43:40,920 –> 00:43:45,800

conversation. There was such wisdom there, Dennis, and we will share the link for the


00:43:45,800 –> 00:43:51,600

course in January that Grandmother’s Voice is facilitating and really grateful for your


00:43:51,600 –> 00:43:56,400

time and your energy. And I love the story about the young man and how his, how his voice


00:43:56,400 –> 00:44:04,120

changed and his eyes changed and, and how we are the medicine that the elements are within us.


00:44:04,120 –> 00:44:11,760

If we are able to, to access them and, and, and hold each other in community. Yeah, I,


00:44:11,760 –> 00:44:18,920

yeah, I just, I have to just, you know, well, I always have to say, see ya. But so much,


00:44:18,920 –> 00:44:26,480

so much wisdom is correct. And I think that it’s time. Why aren’t we in a time? This shift


00:44:26,480 –> 00:44:33,240

of consciousness and people were here for a reason to live, live life in a good way


00:44:33,240 –> 00:44:38,680

and joy and love. And, and everything you spoke about Dennis, I wish we could put on


00:44:38,680 –> 00:44:48,480

the largest world, you know, screen and scream it out to the world because it’s, it’s, people


00:44:48,480 –> 00:44:56,600

are hungry to know how we heal, and how we return back to community to support each other


00:44:56,600 –> 00:45:01,440

because we are this, this time, I hope that we can look back at this video and, in a


00:45:01,440 –> 00:45:08,620

year and feel that, that we are changing. The world is changing into this, this new


00:45:08,620 –> 00:45:16,700

beautiful world. And it’s with people like you who devote their life and time to helping


00:45:16,700 –> 00:45:23,440

others on their healing, their own healing journey. So niawen for always saying yes and,


00:45:23,440 –> 00:45:30,440

and sharing knowledge and, and yeah, I look really forward to supporting, Grandmother’s


00:45:30,440 –> 00:45:35,520

voice, look forward to supporting what you do in the future and hope that, that everyone


00:45:35,520 –> 00:45:40,520

will walk, walk with this wisdom of supporting each other. Niawen.


00:45:40,520 –> 00:45:48,960

Mahow, chi miigwech. Thank you. 


00:45:48,960 –> 00:45:54,240

Blessed be. And thank you everybody for listening to Reconciling Humanity on Hopeful TV, or


00:45:54,240 –> 00:46:00,920

sorry, Hopeful Radio, Skyward TV, and whatever other platform that you’re listening to us.


00:46:00,920 –> 00:46:10,560

May your path to mental wellness be spiritual and fulfilling. Blessed be.

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