Indigenous Men and Mental Health
In this session our panelists will explore some of the unique challenges that face indigenous men when it comes to mental health. There will be discussion about the importance of ceremony, culture, healing circles, family, and the medicine wheel. There will be some very personal and emotional stories shared along with some cultural teachings and some good laughs as always.
Our panelists will discuss some of the mental health concerns our indigenous men face both on and off reserve and most importantly what work needs to be done in supporting the changes needed. As the next generations come, there is a sense of hope that they will take ownership of their culture and learn the warrior ways. For elders, that sense of hope is embodied at powwows, ceremony, and other cultural traditions.
Garth is a Dads Engagement worker with Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society, where he provides Case Management and Group Facilitation. He develops healthy relationships and provides long term support for fathers and men in assisting them to create a supportive network for them and their family. Over the last 10 years he’s been committed to his own growth and healing, participating in over 4500 hours of intensive self-development healing workshops and sharing circles. This has enabled him to truly reclaim his life back! These opportunities along with committing to doing the work, have given him both the tools and deeper understanding on how to rebuild who he is in a safe, trusting, and supportive environment. His journey has led him to his current occupation and has inspired him to go above and beyond to truly make a difference for other fathers and men. He’s been a mentor to boys, men and women throughout his journey and has now made it his mission to create a safe, supportive place where others have a foundation to start and reclaim their life back as well.
He firmly believes that we all deserve the right to experience what a healthy, safe and supportive family feels like and through sharing our stories and gaining new valuable tools along the way, we can do just that. His goal is to provide and be part of an environment where we can practice the tools we learn, which will than allow us a greater opportunity for success in our personal lives as well as in society.
My name is Everett Sunchild. I come from my mother Dorothy Sunchild, and father Everett Lightfoot. My names, have very important significance. My grandfather was Chief Louie Sunchild (as his father before him), and my grandfather from my dad’s side was a spiritual leader in our ways. My grandma Elsie Sunchild had 13 children, and had lived through her life with such strength, as her children were a part of that residential school. Even though, through all that she was able to outlive almost all her children, and lived her life according to our natural laws.
I have received my Social Work Diploma, and now working on my Bachelors, and during this time was hired by Red Road West Pte Oyate Family Resource Network as their Family Outreach Worker.
I am blessed with 4 beautiful children who I am devoted to. They deserve a loving healthy father, to live a life of happiness; to live a life full of love, support, security. Everything a child needs to grow up in a good, happy, healthy way. I believe we as parents deserve that too, and I aim to try share my story in hopes to assist our people in finding that strength within themselves that we all have coursing through our veins.
Dale is from the Whitefish Lake First Nation 459(Atikameg). Dale’s own difficult journey growing up on a remote First Nation like Whitefish compels him to reach out to First Nations, as he knows the challenges they are going through trying to make it in today’s complex world. Dale‘s journey taught him about resilience, perseverance and never giving up on your goals.
Dale loved most sports growing up in Whitefish but took to boxing more so, including winning provincial championships and competing nationally. The sport gave him an avenue to channel his negative emotions stemming from trauma, while teaching him valuable lessons of hard work, positive thinking, and resilience. Dale utilizes the medicine wheel approach of balancing our mind, heart, body spirit as a way of reaching our goals in life. Mental health is holistic health. From this perspective, Dale promotes exercise as a way to keep our mind, body, and spirit strong. Dale believes that trauma and struggle can be used as fuel for strength and for growth. Since starting boxing at age 15, Dale has never stopped training and competed in MMA cage fighting well into his 40’s.
Dale earned a bachelor’s degree in Criminology 1999 in Great Falls Montana. Dale is currently Chair of WFLFN Restorative Justice program, boxing coach, consultant for Child and Family Services, workshop facilitator, motivational speaker, and mental health first aid trainer. He has worked with many First Nations across Alberta in the area of healing, such as Kainai and Siksika in the south, Maskwacis in the central, and Little Red River Cree Nation in the north. Dale is very proud of his First Nation heritage and speaks the Cree language fluently.
Harold Roscher became Director of ENHC after a career as an Electrician and received a degree in Religion and Theology at Taylor university in Edmonton. Having the support of my wife and children I have entered a journey of rediscovering my Cree ancestry and learning to share the Creator’s teachings with the broader community in Edmonton. Strengthening community relations one step at a time.
February 7, 2022
Plus Q & A