by Brandy Kane
Thunder Eagle Woman
The Aboriginal Women’s Program at Battered Women’s Support Services would like to acknowledge the Coast Salish unceded traditional territories and the people of these territories, the Squamish Nation, the Tsawwassen First Nation, the Musqueam Nation, and the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation.
I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself. My ceremonial name is Thunder Eagle Woman and my colonial name is Brandy Kane. My family comes from Lillooet, which is in St’at’imc territory of British Columbia. It is with great pleasure to announce that I am the new Aboriginal Women’s Program Manager at Battered Women’s Support Services.
We are revamping the Aboriginal Women’s Program by offering direct services through Elders, Talking Circle’s, a Women’s hand drum group, and various ceremonies. Some of these ceremonies are Pipe ceremonies, Sweat Lodge ceremonies, and Grandmother Moon ceremonies. We will continue to offer one on one counselling as well as support groups. We are pleased to announce that this coming January 2013 we will be offering a 16 week “Seeking Safety” group for women experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Substance Misuse issues. By using wholistic practices through traditional medicines and ceremonies, we will be working on healing from violence and trauma, reclaiming our rightful roles as strong Aboriginal women in our community, finding our voices and standing strong in our power.
We practice anti-oppressive and feminist practices through the empowerment of our sister’s and in the educating of our community. Funding for the Aboriginal Women’s Program comes primarily from Ministry of Justice Stopping the Violence. We believe in Indigenous ways of being and thinking through culture and also of following the seven sacred principles. These principles are honesty, generosity, fortitude, respect, humility, courage, and wisdom. Within an empowering and wholistic framework we are able to work in a culturally appropriate manner.
I have just recently moved back home from Ontario after completing my Master of Social Work degree at Wilfred Laurier University (WLU) in the Aboriginal Field of Study. I chose WLU to further my education, as the course-work offered, was almost exclusively immersed in traditional wholistic healing modalities.
I feel confident that my education and past experience in the field will allow me to do this critical work with the women that I serve in the community at large.
My past work experience included eight years of working with women and youth in the field of addiction. I was a Substance Misuse Counsellor at Urban Native Youth Association (UNYA) where I provided one on one counselling, group counselling, workshops on prevention, in both elementary and secondary schools. Other aspects of my position included facilitating educational groups on the effects of alcohol and drugs and, as well, offering ceremonial and cultural programming.
My past employment also included five years at Westminster House, a recovery home for women dealing with substance misuse issues. I found the work to be very fulfilling and gratifying and it has been a stepping-stone to where I find myself today.
I chose the field of social work because my personal journey has brought me to a place of growth and change. I have been on my healing journey for over nine years and working in the helping field has contributed to my wellness. Being a recovering addict and having lived the experience, I am fully aware of the struggles associated with a lifestyle change. Today my life is full with many gifts and living in the pain of addiction has long since left me. I plan to continue working with my sister’s and to encourage healing through wholistic healing practices and ceremonies.
My vision is to assist women to realize their potential and to support them on their healing journey. There are some amazing women who came into my life and helped me on my journey and for this I will always be grateful. I plan to express my appreciation by helping others the best I can. I am also closely connected to spirit and ceremony, which I have witnessed benefit the Aboriginal community when healing from addiction, trauma, and other afflictions related to colonization, assimilation, and the intergenerational effects of residential schools. I have been on my own spiritual path and walking the Sundance way of life for five years now. I am eager to work in a manner that is wholistic, traditional, and in using the knowledge I have gained through Elders and ceremony. It is extremely important that I am a wholistic practitioner using decolonizing and reclaiming practices that I know work for our people.
I would like to thank you for taking the time to read this and to offer you the best of my intentions.
Every Thursday from 6 – 8 pm Wildflower Women of Turtle Island Drum Group
Every Tuesday from 10 am to 12 pm Sister’s Empowerment Talking Circle, starting December 11th
For more information please visit BWSS Aboriginal Women’s Program page.