Healing Our Spirit

Enduring the work of Grief, Hope, Truth & Reconciliation in our Communities

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Thank you to everyone who joined us on January 18, 2022 for this continuation in the REDI Indigenous Initiatives Speakers Series. We were honored to welcome Rod Jeffries, Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory in this virtual event.

Healing Our Spirit Worldwide is a movement that was created as a covenant ‘to work in unity and with resolve to strengthen and heal the spirit of our peoples.’ Rod Jeffries was a founding member of this movement and has committed his entire career to helping and inspiring Indigenous peoples in Canada and around the world to find our voice, strengthen our resolve, and fill our hearts and minds with the confidence of our Ancestors. This session considered the enduring work of coming to terms with an individual and collective grief in our communities. Indigenous peoples in Canada are simultaneously dealing with the past and charged with the urgency to find a way forward towards a better future. A future that is based on the promise of hope, speaking our truth and creating the opportunity for true reconciliation among our own people.

View the Recording

Rod Jeffries is Wakenyahten (Turtle Clan) of the Kanyen’keha:ka Niwakitaro:ten (Mohawk) residing at home on the Kenhte:ke Nitewake:non (Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, Ontario, Canada.) For the past 36 years, he has worked in the fields of substance abuse, healing, wellness and treatment as manager, workshop trainer/facilitator, program developer and evaluator. Rod is an international speaker/trainer having presented in Australia, New Zealand, USA, and Europe. In the past 25 years his efforts have focused on the development & delivery of programs and staff for working with survivors of trauma, cultural oppression, sexual abuse and residential/boarding schools. In recent years, Rod has become well known for his work on trauma, shame and lateral violence across Canada and in New Zealand.

He is the chairperson of the International Indigenous Council for Healing Our Spirit Worldwide. Rod’s involvement with HOSW began in 1991 prior to the First Gathering in Edmonton, Alberta in 1992. He remains involved today in the preparation for the next Gathering in Vancouver in 2023.

In recent years, Rod’s efforts have focused on addressing issues directly related to trauma, historic trauma, abandonment, shame & lateral violence through the utilization of our strengths, resilience, compassion and the cultural systems that sustained us for thousands of years. In the past eight years he has concentrated on developing trauma-based addictions programs to assist communities in their healing initiatives. He has recently developed facilitator training programs on lateral violence and healing trauma to share his messages and techniques for Indigenous people to rebuild those systems in today's context.

The foundation of all the training and development is our history and culture as Indigenous peoples, that in the past, has provided us with the values and beliefs to sustain our well-being.

Derek Thompson – Thlaapkiituup is an advisor in the Faculty of Medicine Office of Respectful Environments, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (REDI). Thlaapkiituup is from the diitiidʔaaʔtx̣ – Ditidaht First Nation, one of fourteen Nuuchahnulth Nations on the west coast of Vancouver Island. As the REDI Indigenous Initiatives Advisor, Derek will provide leadership and support across the Faculty to help create and sustain learning and work environments based on standards of cultural safety and humility, and that will address Indigenous specific racism and discrimination. Derek will promote inclusion of an Indigenous perspective in all Faculty initiatives. Derek will also work closely with the Director, Indigenous Engagement to implement the Faculty’s response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action in a way that will best reciprocate the formal commitments made to Indigenous peoples for a better and just future. This important work will also create opportunities for students, staff and faculty to engage with Indigenous people and communities in meaningful ways, and to begin anew the creation of redressing what we believe ourselves to be – as Indigenous peoples, and as Canadians.

Read the Message from the Indigenous Initiatives Advisor


What is the Indigenous Initiatives Speakers Series?

The Indigenous Initiatives Speakers Series is an original and important platform to begin, continue and advance the conversation about telling the truth and reconciling for the future. There has never been a more important time to call upon our elders, leaders, scholars, and people to speak about our individual and shared truths and to anchor compassion in reconciling for the future.

Find more events and upcoming sessions on REDI’s Events page

Continue Learning

“The time to make things happen is now. The time to seek out our individual and shared power is now.”

Read the Message from the Indigenous Initiatives Advisor, Derek Thompson – Thlaapkiituup, here

Learn more about REDI’s Indigenous Initiatives here

Discover REDI’s Indigenous-Specific Resources here

Learn more about Healing Our Spirit Worldwide here