The Center for Indigenous Community Engagement is organizing a meeting with Dr. Dolores S. Bigfoot, director of the Native American Programs at the Center on Child Abuse and Neglect at OUHSC, that will be focused on the effects of colonization on American Indian mental health. The event was inspired by NSU’s own Dr. Farina King, who is the founding director of CICE.
“We presented on a conference panel together before about Native American women’s experiences,” said King, assistant professor. “Dr. Bigfoot shared powerful insights from her work with the Indian Country Trauma Center and from her experiences as a Caddo woman and Native American child psychologist.”
This event will offer a unique opportunity to recognize American Indian mental health issues. With a large percentage of NSU’s student population being comprised of Native Americans, the CICE feel that this discussion is relevant and can aid those community-engaged scholars who have an interest in American Indian mental health, well-being, education, history, or contemporary life.
“I think this panel will help me later in my career,” said Elijah Girty, Vian sophomore. “I plan on going into social work to better help my Native community. Mental health is becoming more and more relevant for our youth and has always been a big obstacle for our people. We are just now starting to destigmatize the issue and actually encourage our youth to reach out versus not recognizing or simply ignoring each other’s problems.”
CICE hopes to have as many people as possible to learn from Bigfoot. The event will be from 3–4 p.m. on Nov. 21 at NSU’s Tahlequah campus science building in room 161.
“Mental health is a significant issue for everyone,” said Bigfoot. “It is not addressed enough especially with experts and experienced professionals. Understanding the impacts of colonization on mental health is crucial for all of us, since our society and each of us are influenced by the history and ongoing legacy of settler colonialism.”
For more information about this event, email King at firstname.lastname@example.org.