DECOLONIZING MENTAL HEALTH: Embracing Indigenous Multi-Dimensional Balance

Edited By: John E. Charlton, Herman J. Michell, & Sharon L. Acoose


Through the understanding that Indigenous Peoples are in the process of rising from the “colonial container”, with the goal of individual and collective wellbeing, this edited book explores decolonizing mental health in order to ad­vance various possibilities for living a quality life within the present-day conceptualizations of Indigenous Ways of Knowing and Being.

Part I builds the foundation, our knowledge base, upon which we can talk about decolonization and mental health. Part II explores the concept of identity/self. Part III examines empowerment. Part IV discusses culturally specific mental health and wellbeing practices. Finally, Part V looks at political action.

Marie Battiste, PhD notes, “This collection of essays is an excellent new resource that enriches interdisciplinary and Indigenous knowledge foundations, demonstrating a wide breadth of new research and insights about Indigenous individual and collective wellness inviting critical reflections and new actions”.

  • ISBN: 978-1-926476-21-6 (Paperback)
    Price: 49.00
    Binding: Paperback
    Date: March 2020
    Rights: World
    Pages: 332
    Size: 6”x9”

    ISBN 978-1-926476-30-8 (EPUB)
    Price: 49.00
    Date: March 2020
    Rights: World

  • Table of Contents

    Table of Contents
    1. Introduction 
    John E. Charlton
    2. Indigenous and Western Understandings: Mental Health and Illness 
    John E. Charlton
    3, Decolonizing Mental Health Services in an Era of Reconciliation 
    Herman J. Michell
    4. Relationship Building and Providing Responsive Service 
    John E. Charlton

    5. Identity as a Narrative of Becoming in Wellbeing 
    Rogena Sterling
    6. Weesahkaychak in Academia: How Identity Categories of Race and Gender Matter 
    Marlene McKay
    7. An Indigenous Mother and Grandmother’s Everyday Practices of Shaping a Child’s Ongoing Healthy Identity Making 
    Shaun Murphy & Janice Huber

    8. Settler Allies in Indigenous Mental Health: Considerations for Counselling and Psychotherapy 
    Jason Brown
    9. Seeing the Light in Another Through Practitioner Eyes 
    Adrian M. Downy & Jenny L. Rowett
    10. The Meeting of the Selves 
    Elisa Lacerda-Vandenborn

    11. Decolonizing Counselling Approaches: Counselling First Nation Individuals and Families
    Corrine McArthur
    12. Respecting the Ghosts: Indigenous Protocols and Mental Wellness
    Sharon Goulet, Reg Crowshoe, & Suzanne McLeod
    13. The Roots of Life and Wellness: Healing Anishinaabe Identity Through Ceremony and Culture
    Nancy Stevens
    14. Using Ceremony and Culture for Recovery
    Sharon L. Acoose
    15. Indigenous Learning with a Child’s Mind
    Kathryn Ricketts, Brenda Dubois, & Emily Grafton

    16. Becoming Allies With?: A Relational, Transitive and Creative Narrative Exploration 
    Eun-Ji Amy Kim, & Mindy R. Carter
    17. From Reaction to Action: Psychologists Heeding the Call to Decolonize their Professional Practices 
    Timothy R. Claypool
    18. Mental Disorder Diagnosis as Colonial Place-Naming: Contesting the Practices of Implied Consent 
    Jan DeFehr

    About the Authors

  • John E. Charlton, Herman J. Michell, & Sharon L. Acoose

    John E. Charlton, DMin is a Registered Clinical Counsellor with the British Columbia Association of Clinical Counsellors. Dr. Charlton served as the Editor-in-Chief of the peer-reviewed journals: Addiction, Recovery and Aftercare and The International Journal of Restorative Justice. Dr. Charlton earned his BA and BSc from Trent University, his MTS from Queen’s University at Kingston, his MPS from the University of Toronto, his MA from Yorkville University, and his doctorate from Providence Theological Seminary. Dr. Charlton has co-authored the following books: We Still Live Here: First Nations, Alberta Oil Sands, and Surviving Globalism (with Michael Hankard, PhD., 2016), and Walking with Indigenous Philosophy: Justice and Addiction Recovery (3rd ed) (with Gregory Cajete, PhD., John G. Hansen, PhD., and Jay Hansford C. Vest, PhD., 2019). Dr. Charlton is Managing Editor for the peer-reviewed journal, Indigeneity & Critical Theorizing.

    Herman J. Michell, PhD is a member of the Barren Lands First Nation, an External Consultant for the Prince Albert Grand Council, and former VP Academics & Associate Professor at First Nations University of Canada. Dr. Michell is author of: Working with Aboriginal Communities in Places of Higher Learning (2013), Working with Elders and Indigenous Knowledge Systems (2013), Cree Ways of Knowing and School Science (2013), Shattered Spirits in the Land of the Little Sticks: Contextualizing the Impact of Residential Schools Among the Woodland Cree (2015), Reconciliation from an Indigenous Perspective: Weaving the Web of Life in the Aftermath of Residential Schools (2017), and Land-Based Education: Embracing the Rhythms of the Earth from an Indigenous Perspective (2018). Finally, Dr. Michell is Editor (Canada) for the peer-reviewed journal, Indigeneity & Critical Theorizing.

    Sharon L. Acoose, PhD is a member of the Sakimay First Nation, and Professor of Indigenous Social Work at First Nations University of Canada. Dr. Acoose is author of: An Arrow in my Heart: A First Nation Woman’s Account of Survival from the Street to the Height of Academia (2015) and, A Fire Burns Within: Teachings from Ceremony and Culture (2016).

  • Between these pages authors capture transformative moments… ‘the smell of medicines permeating the northern landscape carried by wind…’ ‘Prayers, drumbeats, song, rhythm, the quietness of the land, and hands stretched forward in gratitude.’ These words offer readers an embodied sense of the power of Indigenous healing, with the possibility that we can move beyond the colonial psychologizing of our people.

    Cathy Richardson, PhD

    Associate Professor
    Director of First Peoples Studies
    Concordia University

    Grounded in tradition, research, practice and wisdom, this is a unique and accessible edited collection to re-think, re-shape and redress mental health for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.

    Colleen Dell, PhD

    Research Chair in One Health & Wellness
    Dept. of Sociology
    University of Saskatchewan

    A beautiful collection drawing on the wisdom of Elders and knowledge holders. From 4 Directions teachings, to stories of becoming and identity we are reminded how “inherently whole” our spirits always are, and the importance of seeing our “inner light” and helping others to see their own. Readers are offered a vision of wellbeing that is filled with hope and possibility.

    Trudy Cardinal, PhD

    Associate Professor
    Elementary Education
    University of Alberta

    This collection of essays is an excellent new resource that enriches interdisciplinary and Indigenous knowledge foundations, demonstrating a wide breadth of new research and insights about Indigenous individual and collective wellness inviting critical reflections and new actions.

    Marie Battiste, PhD

    College of Education
    University of Saskatchewan