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Re-establishing connections to encourage safe place for kids


By Shirley Honyust Windspeaker Contributor LONDON, Ont







“Baa Maa Pii Amquamzin” translates to “See you later, and be careful because we care about you” and this was the theme of the spring conference held by Eagle’s Nest Residential Group Home in London, Ont.

The intention of Eagle’s Nest is to provide a culturally-sensitive residential group home that makes every effort to create a safe environment and atmosphere to encourage each child.

The conference focused on the effects of trauma, and illustrated the techniques of cognitive behaviour therapy in helping children work to overcome such things as eating and sleeping disorders, poor academic performance, lacking social skills, and other concerns that are a result of being exposed to trauma. A certificate of completion for the participants followed the two days of training.

Presenters at this two-day conference included Paul Petahtegoose, social worker for Eagle’s Nest, and Brent Angell, director of the School of Social Work, University of Windsor.

Petahtegoose focused on traditional teachings, which addressed the stigma of shame and trauma from the cultural perspective. He shared some of the teachings that he had received, and presented the Medicine Wheel as a teaching tool.

Peggy Martin, Native Foster Homes Recruitment Worker for Eagles Nest, coordinated the conference and gave recognition to the speakers as well as gifts of appreciation.

Angell’s presentation gave detailed information in regard to the effects of trauma, how these are manifested through behaviours of children at school and at home, and the usefulness of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) in treating children for these behaviours from the clinical perspective.

The conference was extremely well attended and the audience included representatives from both Native and non-Native organizations, including Native foster parents, Children’s Aid Social Workers, Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians, My Sister’s Place, N‘Amerind Friendship Centre, Thames Valley District School Board, Western Ontario Therapeutic Community Homes, volunteers and students.