wakomakanak against anti-Indigenous racism (in youth mental health care)

Our workshop is aimed at sharing experiences of anti-Indigenous racism in youth mental health care and interactively discussing solutions and ways forward. We will start by sharing selected short stories of our lived experience as Indigenous youth in mental healthcare in Canada. Then we will invite participants to share their experiences or ideas for ways to resist or eliminate anti-indigenous racism in an interactive art and/or poetry-based activity. Non-indigenous participants will learn about some Indigenous experiences of anti-Indigenous racism and the importance of countering it in practice and Indigenous participants will hopefully gain a sense of solidarity and empowerment.

Presenters and slide deck

Alberta Tan’si Meghan Eaker ewka Tamara Eaker nitisikasonan.

Tamara Eaker (Ojibwe/Cree) and Meghan Eaker (Cree) are cousins who both have lived experience of anti-indigenous racism while accessing mental health care in Canada. Tamara is a visual artist based in Calgary, Alberta and Meghan is a Registered Nurse and poet based in Edmonton, Alberta. They are both passionate about art, Indigenous youth mental health and anti-racism.

Carla Hilario, PhD

Dr. Carla Hilario was born in the Philippines and raised on the unceded lands of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Alberta, which is located on Treaty 6 territory. Her program of research is on equity-oriented health promotion and health care - with a focus on social determinants of youth mental health, anti-racism, and co-designing inclusive services and systems with diverse Canadian youth.

Key Learnings

  • There is a need to de-colonize the youth mental health system.
  • Art and poetry are creative ways to explore mental health in a safe space.
  • Ignorance, lack of knowledge, fear, assumptions and defensiveness may contribute to anti-Indigenous racism.


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