CNPS Social Justice Speaker Series: Settler Scholar Engagement in Indigenous Research in the Study of Historical Trauma

Date: Monday, June 6th, 2022
Time: 12:00-1:30 pm
Location: Registered participants will be provided with a Zoom link
*The workshop got pre-approval from CCPA for 1.5 continuing education credits (CEC) hours

The construct of Indigenous historical trauma describes the collective, cumulative, and intergenerational impacts of the systematic destruction of Indigenous culture, spirituality, language, territory, social structures, ceremonial practices, governance, and economic stability that has carried into the present (Brave Heart, 1998). Scholars argue that the impacts of historical trauma have been exacerbated by Western psychological models that have neglected Indigenous approaches to wellness (Gone et al., 2019; McCormick, 2008), as well as research conducted on Indigenous peoples (Smith, 2013). The choice of methodology is, as Margaret Kovach (2018), Nêhiyaw and Saulteaux scholar describes, “a political act” (p. 385). Whereas Indigenous research is concerned with Indigenous matters but may or may not include Indigenous peoples or follow Indigenous ways of knowing and being, Indigenous methodologies are and feel Indigenous (Kovach, 2021). In this presentation, I outline some of the potential and pitfalls for approaching the study of Indigenous historical trauma in Canada through an engagement with Indigenous methodologies from my own perspective as a white settler scholar. I consider the principles of Indigenous Storywork (respect, reverence, responsibility, reciprocity, holism, interrelatedness, and synergy; Archibald, 2008) to work with stories of my own engagement in research with the Wet’suwet’en Nation on their mobilization of Indigenous Focusing Oriented Therapy, to illuminate the complexity inherent in these efforts.

About the Speaker:

Sarah Panofsky is a cisgender woman and white settler with ancestry from Jewish Eastern Europe and Scotland and England and lives as an uninvited guest with responsibilities on the traditional, ancestral, and unceeded territory of the Squamish people. She is a graduate student in Counselling Psychology at UBC and first came to Indigenous research in 2010 in a collaboration with the Office of the Wet’suwet’en that has continued that relationship into the present.

Presentation Outline:

-Indigenous historical trauma and its intersections with Western psychological models and Western research paradigms.

-Frameworks that inform Indigenous research:

  • Psychology’s Response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Report -TRC Calls to Action
  • National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Final Report
  • Tri-Council Policy Statement- Chapter 9, research with Indigenous peoples

– Introduction to Indigenous research, decolonizing research, and Indigenous methodologies.

-Critical reflections on my experience of collaborative research with the Wet’suwet’en Nation regarding their mobilization of Indigenous Focusing Oriented Therapy (IFOT) to address historical trauma in the Nation. I will structure these reflections according to Jo-Ann Archibald’s Indigenous Storywork (Archibald, 2008) principles of respect, responsibility, reverence, reciprocity, holism, interrelatedness, and synergy.