Healing in Chisasibi

This is a wonderful Ph.D. documentary from a doctoral dissertation.  It is perfect for any cross-cultural and public health class on the health impact of colonization. Many of the stories have to do with addiction to alcohol and drugs. In each case healing involves recapturing a sense of Cree identity and spirituality. The short video clips 2-7 minutes can be used as discussion triggers in the classroom.

The website is divided into six sections that reflect the main themes of the narrative analysis. These are:

  • Colonization and social suffering, under the heading Colonization
  • Role of culture in healing, under the heading Culture
  • Youth and community cohesion, under the heading Youth
  • Healing narratives, under the heading Healing
  • Agency and acts of decolonization, under the heading Decolonization
  • An additional section detailing the research approach can be found under the heading Indigenist Ethnography

In total, the eight interviews were edited into approximately three (3) hours of footage or a total of 65 clips ranging from 2min to 7 min in length, which make up the five Korsakow films.  Of particular interest for community and population health and nursing identity is the story of Mary Louise Snowboy, R.N.

Mary Louise Snowboy

Mary Louise Snowboy

Mary Louise Snowboy was born in Moose Factory and lived most of her life in Fort George and Chisasibi. She studied nursing in Montreal and completed a BA at University of Ottawa; she is for now the only Cree mental health nurse in the Nation. In her nursing career, that spans over twenty years, Mary Louise has worked as a clinician, liaison nurse, and cultural resource with the Cree Board of Health and Social Services. Although she has clinical training, Mary Louise was taught iiyiyiu care-giving practices by her grandparents in the bush. Her brother, Harry Snowboy is an accomplished healer and medicine man. She is currently the Chair of the Miyupimaatisiiun Committee and the interim coordinator of the Mental Health Department. Mary Louise promotes a holistic and multicultural model of care that has its roots in Cree land-based practices while also being open to integrate other culture-based approaches, be they traditional or clinical, Indigenous or non-Indigenous. Her own healing path is based on faith and spirituality that promotes self-awareness and respect for all Creation. Mary Louise strives to develop a culturally safe metal health model that is first and foremost patient-centered.





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