Traditional Healing Ceremony Must Work Together with Medicine


“Trauma can be understood as an event that creates difficulty for the individual to cope with whether the event that caused the experience was purposeful or accidental. While people do find amazing ways to cope with circumstances that are overwhelming, neurobiology tells us how trauma is processed and impacts the workings of the brain. Trauma in the nervous system can be understood as the result of a person or group or community’s inability to stay safe or to feel safe during the experiences. Indigenous people live with the ongoing effects of intergenerational trauma caused by colonization including the Indian Residential School experience, as well as ongoing systemic oppression”.

In the scars of my knees, you can see children torn from their,

Families bludgeoned into government schools

You can see through the pins in my bones that we are prisoners of a long war

My knee is so badly wounded no one will look at it

The pus of the past oozes from every pore

This infection has gone on for at least 300 years

Our sacred beliefs have been made into pencil names of cities gas stations

My knee is wounded so badly that I limp constantly

Anger is my crutch I hold myself upright with it

My knee is wounded to see how

I Am Still Walking

— “Not Vanishing”

Case Scenario

My client’s name is Behitha; the meaning of her name is the beginning of an event and eagle child. She is a mixed Syilx (Okanagan) woman from the Lower Similkameen in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia. Her father raised her until she was apprehended by the “Sixties Scoop” in Canada. From age seven to fifteen she was moved from one foster home to another. Then she ran away from the foster home to her ancestral territory, the Okanagan. She is suffering from trauma because of the Sixties Scoop.

Healing Ceremony

The method which I will be using is storytelling. According to Hogan, “storytelling can illuminate the connections between bodily and ecological trauma and create the possibility for healing both. is designed to reincorporate the traumatized into a larger community and create a chain of witnesses who distribute responsibility for trauma among the wider public.” 

“The rationale for this method is that by listening to the ‘stories’ of how the participants experience ceremony to deal with the trauma I believe an understanding of the potential for a model of healing is revealed. This method fits the population because Indigenous people by nature are ‘oral’ people. For thousands and thousands of years, we have passed knowledge from generation to generation through storytelling.” 

I chose this method of healing because I think that by sharing your experiences people can make others aware and it also brings respect and honor for that person. Sometimes in counseling, people face problems in discussing their problems but through storytelling, they can explain all the situation and when others tell their stories they feel a sort of connection with others as well. My client can have easy access to the ceremony as well because it will be conducted in the community center and she has a vehicle, so it is easy for her to get there.

 “Inspired by the work of Margaret Kovach and Robina Thomas I chose a qualitative and Indigenous methodology framework for healing i.e. Storytelling. In her book Indigenous Methodologies Kovach puts forward the idea that from an epistemology based on relationships an Indigenous methodology emerges that encompasses a relational and tribal knowledge worldview, this can be achieved by using a qualitative approach to gathering information. Indigenous values are based on relational accountability of what is more important and meaningful, which is to be accountable to ‘all our relations’ we believe we are connected to every living and all of creation on earth, we recognize this connection in all we do. In Research as Resistance Robina Thomas explains that “traditionally, storytelling played an essential role in nurturing and educating Indigenous children. Using Kovach’s epistemology of relations and connection (tribal knowledge) and Thomas’s storytelling method of receiving teachings I believe respect will be honored with this framework. According to Brown and Strega, “understanding the reality of experience or process is contextual and must be grounded in the experience of those who have had the experience or process. Rich, “thick” description brings a deeper, more complex understanding”. The intent of this research is to find out how traditional Indigenous ceremony and healing feels for Indigenous people who have experienced trauma.” 

Integration with western methods

I think traditional healing is the best practice for an individual who is suffering from any disease or health issue. As the traditional methods are unique and natural so no western medicine can integrate with it. Traditional methods generally involve the products obtained from the plants and nature and all the methods are related to their land and culture. Where else, the western method involves all the chemical products which are made artificially.


I think people should become more aware of the traditional healing methods and they should incorporate those methods in their life to overcome any disease. Storytelling is one of the best practices because it enables to reduce your stress and pain by sharing your stories and by getting to know about people’s experiences. There should be a healing ceremony room in the hospitals so that people can have access to them.


  1. Journey to Healing: Aboriginal People with Addiction and Mental Health Issues – What Health, Social Service and Justice Workers Need to Know. Edited by Peter Menzies & Lynn F. Lavallee, CAMH, 2014
  2. Determinants of Indigenous Peoples’ Health in Canada: Beyond the Social. Editors – Margo
  3. Greenwoood, Sarah de Leeuw, Nicole Marie Lindsay, Charlotte Reading, Canadian Scholars’ Press, 2015
  4. Baskin, C. (2016). Strong Helpers’ Teachings: The Value of Indigenous Knowledges in the Helping Professions. Second Edition Canadian Scholars’ Press, Toronto.
  5. Harrison, S. (2019). “We Need New Stories”: Trauma, Storytelling, and the Mapping of Environmental Injustice in Linda Hogan’s Solar Storms and Standing Rock. American Indian Quarterly, 43(1), 1–35. Retrieved from
  6. Chrystos. (1988). Not vanishing. Vancouver, Canada: Press Gang Publishing.
  7. Nyman, Sheila. (2013). In The Time of the Old Ones. BC First Nations, Aboriginal Maternal, Child and Family Strategic Approach. First Nations Health Authority. Retrieved from. nal_Child_and_Family_Tripartite_Strategic_Approach.pdf#search=in%20the%20time%2 0of%20the%20old%20ones
  8. Nyman, Sheila. (2012). Indigenous Ceremony and Traditional Knowledge: Exploring their use as models for healing the impacts of traumatic experiences. Retrieved from
07 July 2022
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