Learning to support the Indigenous community with Nadia GeorgeBrowse all therapists
How do we even begin to start the healing process?
“What we've come to realize about traumatic experiences is that we don't necessarily need to have the full narrative to be able to process it. We are able to feel in our brains, to think our bodies, to feel differently about an event without having that actually [happening to us personally].
This is something that is really new, that's coming out in the complex trauma field. But this is something that we've been doing as Indigenous people for generations, around drumming and art in beadwork and singing, and really bringing our holistic bodies into those moments and allowing for that whole healing process.”
If we are looking at how do we, as non-Indigenous people, start to approach that, it's really about listening. We have to listen and we have to be open to the idea that our way, the colonial way, is not always the right way to do things. That there are different ways we can do things. And if someone doesn't know or feels uncomfortable, I always tell people, “Reach out to your friendship centers.” You can find Indigenous authors within the helping field that have written books on Indigenous helping approaches and how to implement those.
How can we support?
I think we have to start changing the way we see how we're supporting Indigenous people. Conversations like this are great because I'm in a position where I'm okay to answer these questions, but it's not for everyone. And even sometimes myself, I will be very honest with people and be like, “I appreciate it. I just don't have the capacity at this moment.”
As I was learning more about the whole Pride situation in the LGBTQ two-spirited community and trans community, is that when we get something wrong, like the way we say something or someone's name or their nation or things like that, instead of saying “sorry,” say, “Thank you for gifting me that knowledge.” Because then we take accountability for it. We're not putting it on somebody else.
“Listening is the number one thing. Our voices have been silenced for so long, and we've been told for so long that we were incorrect. That we're the ones that have caused all the grief and trouble and we need to settle down. And now it's starting to become very clear to Canadians the true history. The real story of what's happened in Canada. I continue to call it the Canadian genocide, because that's exactly what it was. It was a genocide of Indigenous peoples by Canada.”
Recognition, Representation, and Reconciliation
I'm starting to see our own faces in those spaces [like Sephora]. My hope is we are going to start creating more representation. And those are the three R's: recognition, representation, and reconciliation. As long as we continue to follow those things, that beautiful change is going to be made.
Nadia’s book recommendations on Indigenous History and issues with Canada:
3) Indigenous Writes: First Nation, Métis and Inuit Issues in Canada By Chelsea Vowel
5) Seeking Mino-Pimatisiwin: an Aboriginal approach to helping By Michael Anthony Hart
6) Path with No Moccasins Play by @shirley.cheechoo
University of Alberta Free online course
About Nadia George:
Nadia George is an award winning Mi’kmaq-Canadian actress & media personality based in Toronto. Nadia’s work focuses on uplifting young voices, advocating for changes in the discourse around reproductive health; While also addressing stigmas around contemporary Indigenous identity. Nadia is very open and public about her Advocacy for the equity of Indigenous Communities and People. You can learn more about her on her website - https://www.nadiageorge.com/