Notes from a talk delivered by Carol Hopkins (Delaware First Nation of Moraviantown, Ontario) at the University of Ottawa, March 22nd 2012. Hosted by the Centre for Students with Disabilities – SFUO.

the universe is made of stories not atoms
- being able to share stories helps: heals, teaches

research that decolonizes, heals, and offers hope
- of benefit to people, not for the purpose of being published

sound of the start of the universe
- the ‘shhh, shhh, shhh’ of the gourd seeds (rattle) spirit seeds (name for beads, strung together)
- next is the beating of the heart (drum)

two worldviews: individualistic and connective/community-based

fourfold way of understanding mental health ‘governance’
- who governs mental well being

‘benzos to berries’:
- story of young kid sitting down with elders
- hook with curiosity
- figure out problem
- ceremony and prescription: when troubled, sit down with bowl of peanuts and blueberries, take time to unshell nuts, be nourished, and calm down

story of fasting
- people going hungry without food
- power of doing without, praying, intent that others have some first
- not doing only for self, doing for everyone

young woman healing addiction
- going down to lake to offer tobacco and pray
- mother, aunts curious as to what she’s doing, they eventually join her
- power of singing as activity that heals, gives faith

using ceremony to balance neurotransmitters
- singing engages whole brain
- prayer can help facilitate change, ex: stop abusing substances, deal with overwhelm

elasticity of resiliency
- come from spirituality, sense of having place and purpose, who we are
- that’s at the core, and comes from layers, what you know of reality

trauma, overwhelm, oppression
- systems of support, taking care of self first, ancestors and descendants

respecting differences
- welcoming all and understanding proper place, proper medicine, valuing gifts

dealing with fear
- young kids doing fasting ceremony face fear of dark
- what would it be like if we all learned when kids to deal well with fear of unknown, public speaking, of failure, etc

culture as key component of well being
- not just behavioural

“backbone not wishbone”
- it is what you stand for
- your strengths, your gifts

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