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Keeping Our Circle Strong: Trauma-Informed Practice in Urban Indian Healthcare

  • 05 May 2015
  • 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
  • Sumner School (1201 17th St NW)

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Keeping Our Circle Strong: Trauma-Informed Practice in Urban Indian Healthcare

SpeakerKerry Hawk Lessard
Date: Tuesday, 5 May 2015
Time: 7:00 pm
Location: Sumner School

In research and in practice, I am interested in the role of historical trauma in the contemporary health status of Urban American Indians. Defined by Lakota scholar Maria Yellow Horse Brave Heart, the term historical trauma describes, “the cumulative emotional and psychological wounding over the lifespan, across generations, emanating from massive group trauma.” Viewed as a syndemic condition combined with ubiquitous poverty and inequity, how does historical trauma contribute to the burden of disease in our community? Further, how do we identity and remediate these post-colonial impacts?

In this talk, I’ll discuss my conceptualization of how historical trauma is exacerbated by the daily microaggressions facing American Indian people and how this experience is enacted in health demoting behavioral practices, amplifying risk, and ultimately contributing to lowered health and social outcomes. I will then discuss the ways in which decolonization theory is applied in an Urban Indian Health Program to address the specific health needs of the community in a manner that reflects the cultural priorities of indigenous people.

Kerry Hawk Lessard (Shawnee) is the Executive Director of Native American Lifelines, an Urban Indian Health Program serving Native people living in the Baltimore Metropolitan area. An applied medical anthropologist, Lessard partners with American Indian community members to co-create health programming and deliver services that best meet their needs. Kerry has been an active participant in the Upward Anthropology Research Community, urging reconciliation between the discipline of Anthropology and its problematic relationship with American Indians and Alaska Natives. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park and former student of Drs. Aubrey Williams and Judith Freidenberg.

Meeting:  Charles Sumner School, corner of 17th St and M St NW, Washington, DC

How to get there:  The Sumner School is located at 1201 17th St NW (corner of 17th St and M St NW).  The entrance to the meeting area is on 17th St under the black metal stairway. Directions from Metro Red Line: From Farragut North station, take either L St exit, walk one block east to 17th St, turn left and walk 2 blocks north.  Enter through the double doors under the black metal staircase. Check with security for the meeting room.

Pre-meeting: Nage (meet at the bar for happy hour)

I600 Rhode Island Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 448-8005

Happy hour is from 4:00 to 7:00 pm in the bar only, which includes the row of 2-person tables near the entrance. To avoid issues with separate checks and the automatic service charge on groups of 6 or more, consider ordering and paying at the bar. Items purchased in the bar can be taken to the sofas and tables in the lobby.

Nage is located in the Scott Circle Courtyard Marriott on the corner of Rhode Island Ave and 16th St (one short block up from the Beacon).

Directions from Metro Red Line: From Farragut North station, take either L St exit, walk one block east to 17th St, turn left and walk 3 blocks north (past the Sumner School), then turn right on Rhode Island Ave. Nage is at the end of the block facing Scott Circle.

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