Indigenous Perspectives on Addiction and Recovery, and Cultural Foundations – Indigenous Healing and Recovery, 2 Part Panel

April 4th, 2024

Part One – 11 am to 12:30

Part Two – 1:30 to 3:00

Exhibition Hall C – TELUS Convention Centre Calgary

Part One: Indigenous Perspectives on Addiction and Recovery

About this session

This panel presents a multifaceted exploration of addiction within Indigenous communities, specifically the Siksika Nation, and the journey towards recovery and leadership. Ruben Buck Breaker will discuss the historical introduction of alcohol to Indigenous communities and the path of recovery through leadership. Francis Butch Wolf Leg from the Nechi Institute will delve into the evolution of addiction services for the Siksika First Nation, highlighting progress in Indigenous Addiction Worker Development and the new frontiers in advocacy and support for clients. Deanna Ledoux, a First Nations Child Advocate, will address staff development in allyship and trauma-informed practices aimed at non-indigenous social workers, sharing her personal narrative to underscore the importance of compassion and understanding of the true history of First Nations. Maria Hajcik, drawing from her lived experience, will focus on her personal recovery journey while outlining strategies for supporting newcomers in long-term recovery and the significance of connection and learning. Emil Ward will close Part One, Emil an elder with extensive experience in the realm of addiction, will speak on the transformations he has witnessed over decades and emphasize the crucial role of family in the recovery process.

Learning Objectives

1. Understand the historical context and impact of alcohol on Indigenous communities, exploring the role of leadership in fostering recovery.

2. Gain insight into the evolution of addiction services for the Siksika First Nation, including the development of Indigenous Addiction Worker programs and the advancement of advocacy for this demographic.

3. Learn effective strategies for staff development in cultural sensitivity and trauma-informed practices, emphasizing the importance of compassion and historical awareness when working with First Nations communities impacted by intergenerational trauma.

Part Two – Cultural Foundations – Indigenous Healing and Recovery

About this session

In the second panel, speakers will address the critical role of culture, family, and community in the healing and recovery processes of Indigenous peoples. Alayna Dooe of the Siksika Nation will emphasize the importance of integrating cultural practices into recovery plans and the broader implications for family and community healing when an individual returns home in recovery. Alana LaMalice will share her personal journey through the lens of ‘Black Road Crossroads,’ discussing the impact of intergenerational trauma, the role of sobriety, and the support of ceremonial practices in her path to healing. Lastly, Bill Ward, recognized as an Indigenous Change Maker, will provide insight into the profound challenges faced by First Nations individuals dealing with addiction. He will discuss effective strategies and contemporary models that he has seen facilitate recovery within Indigenous communities. Together, these speakers will shed light on the deep connections between cultural identity and the successful navigation of the road to recovery.

1. Recognize the significance of cultural practices and traditions in the healing and recovery processes of Indigenous peoples, and how these are incorporated into recovery plans involving family and community

2. Explore the concept of intergenerational trauma and its treatment through personal narratives, understanding the role of sobriety and ceremonial practices in the journey towards healing.

3.Analyze contemporary models of addiction recovery specific to First Nations people as presented by a change maker within the community, identifying what has been effective in addressing the depth of addiction-related challenges.

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