Feb. 9, 2021

Modern medicine integrates Indigenous ways of healing

Traditional Indigenous perspectives on health and wellness explored in Feb. 11 webinar hosted by UCalgary
Students, faculty, and staff attend the official launch and celebration of ii’ taa’ poh’ to’p Riley Brandt, University of Calgary

For centuries, Indigenous healers have used plant-based medicines and ancient techniques to promote better health and wellness among their communities. Could today’s health-care system benefit from traditional Indigenous knowledge?

“Thirty years ago, you wouldn’t find this knowledge in a medical health setting because these ideas at that time were not considered legitimate,” explains assistant professor of psychology, Dr. Adam Murry, PhD.

Adam murray

Adam Murry, Faculty of Arts, Department of Psychology.

“Lecture events discussing Indigenous health and traditional medicine are an essential part of a bigger conversation taking place in the world right now.”

Murry will moderate a panel discussion on traditional Indigenous perspectives on health and wellness Feb. 11, featuring Elders Reg and Rose Crowshoe, Piikani Nation, and Virgil Stephens, Stoney Nakoda Nation.

Piikani Elder and spiritual advisor Reg Crowshoe and Rose Crowshoe

Piikani Elder and Spiritual Advisor Reg Crowshoe and Rose Crowshoe.

Murry says that seeking the interconnectedness of everything during these times is more salient than ever. Yet, an Indigenous perspective of health illustrates the deeply held beliefs that a human’s condition is not just a separate state of mind and body. Instead, an Indigenous perspective views health as influenced by the entirety of the individual’s relationships, responsibilities, community, spirituality, and connection to the land.   

Drawing from personal experience, Murry is witnessing a hunger for more Indigenous speaker events among the campus community.

“Having Indigenous events, individuals and Indigenous Peoples who share these worldviews and values are reaffirmed about their ideas by hearing an elder speak because of the trust and sense of comfort associated with being near an Elder,” he says.

“Traditionally, this information is not discussed in an online platform. However, due to the circumstance, there is still the great opportunity for us to hear a body of wisdom we might not otherwise have access to,” says Murry.

Through the traditions of an oral culture, traditional knowledge keepers are rooted in early education, mentorship, and passage rights, which account for their great regard for oral traditions and teaching through storytelling.  

Elders' Teachings Series: Indigenous Ways of Healing

Please join us for the second Elders' Teaching Series webinar, hosted by ii’ taa’poh’to’p, UCalgary’s Indigenous Strategy, on Feb. 11 as we explore traditional Indigenous Ways of Healing from Elders within the Treaty 7 region of southern Alberta. This event offers teachings of restoration and resiliency from Piikani Elders Reg and Rose Crowshoe as well as Stoney Nakoda Elder Virgil Stephens, and will be moderated by Adam Murry.

The Elders’ Teaching Series provides a public platform for sharing traditional knowledge and knowledge systems as part of our path forward toward transformative reconciliation.

Thursday, Feb. 11
12-1:30 p.m. online
Register for Indigenous Ways of Healing

ii’ taa’poh’to’p, the University of Calgary’s Indigenous Strategy, is a commitment to deep evolutionary transformation by reimagining ways of knowing, doing, connecting and being. Walking parallel paths together, “in a good way,” UCalgary is moving toward genuine reconciliation and Indigenization. 

For more information about the Indigenous Strategy and upcoming events, please visit the Office of Indigenous Engagement website.