My traditional name includes Emintchante from my father’s side, and Huukwamiis from my husband’s family. I am the great granddaughter of the late Xax’lip Chief Thomas Adolph, signer of the Declaration of the Lillooet Tribe and member of the 1916 Delegation of the Indian Rights Association.
I have been and continue to be the Nursing Manager with the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council for 30+ years. As a nurse with Indigenous communities throughout my career, I understand the critical connection between mental and physical health. I also understand that Nuu-chah-nulth-aht are grounded in the belief of Klee-muk-stee (our life spirit), our capacity to heal from within and to acknowledge the role of support from our communities, elders and ancestors. Nursing services can only go so far if mental health issues are not prioritized. Individuals, families, and entire communities suffer from disconnection and insecurity in the absence of language, traditional teachings, relationship to self, others and our traditional territories. Our people and communities will remain unhealthy if they do not have the best opportunities and support to confront and voice the trauma that has seriously harmed themselves and their Nations.
Nurses are trusted and respected in the communities and are frequently approached by members wanting help with anxiety, depression, and addictions. As nurses, we witness repeatedly that without support to deal with the trauma, chronic conditions (diabetes, heart disease, obesity, depression, addiction, etc.) continue to worsen. I often say that a nurse can talk “till she is blue in the face” about diabetes and the person will hear nothing if the mental health issues are not addressed.
As a nursing group, we follow a Nuu-chah-nulth Nursing Framework based on the values and traditions of the Nations. We uphold a strength based-approach, focus on relational practice, and strive for collaboration with the mental health staff from Nuuchahnulth. However, we continue to see the negative effects of trauma with poor health statistics. I support the need to do something new and revolutionary and I am so ready to facilitate the potential that Roots to Thrive program offers to Indigenous people.
Several years ago, I was given the opportunity with ketamine on an experiential basis. The heart connection to my true nature and capacities was the profound and healing experience that connected me back to myself, family and community.
I am hopeful by becoming a board member with the Roots to Thrive, that the negative trajectory of unhealed trauma and poor outcomes can be turned around, that our membership will take advantage of the program and return to the healthy individuals, families and communities we once were and deserve to be again.