Celebrating Psychiatry Through the Arts
In Their Shoes: Sharing Psychotherapy Stories
Below is a digital capsule collection featuring the stories of individuals from across the province who shared the positive impact that long-term psychotherapy had on their lives. All of the shoes collected for this project will be donated to Soles4Souls Canada.
"Indigenous Health is Holistic" by Nicole Neidhardt
“Indigenous Mental Health is Holistic” is a digital drawing that speaks to interrelated elements of Indigenous Mental Health from my cultural lens as a Diné (Navajo) woman. As Indigenous peoples, our Lands, Waters, plants, plant medicines, animals, communities and cultural practices are all inter-connected with our mental health and well-being. The central figure is a Diné woman, rocking large turquoise earrings and wearing a biil, a traditional Diné rug dress. The landscape in her hair is Round Rock, Arizona – my Diné home community. The stars in her hair point to the cosmologies, creation stories, and histories that are held in the Lands, waters, and skies of the places we, as Indigenous peoples, come from. She holds a medicine pouch with Tádídíín, corn pollen, which is an integral medicine to the Navajo and I use it here to illuminate the importance of ceremony and culture. The multi-coloured birds in the design come from a Diné Tree of Life weaving design, pointing to the importance of learning, practicing, and teaching traditional cultural art forms. They can be an impactful way to connect to our ancestors, who have been practicing these artforms for generations. The corn stalk next to her represents traditional foods and medicines and the importance of being able to access the Lands and Waters that hold these food sources and plant medicines. Fishing, hunting, and harvesting on our traditional territories is integral to Indigenous communities’ well-being. This is one of the core reasons the effects of climate change and extractive resource industries have such devastating impacts on Indigenous peoples. When the Lands and Waters are healthy, we are healthy.
The histories and contemporary realities of colonialism in Canada and the United States, makes it really challenging to exist and thrive as Indigenous peoples within these white-centric systems. For this piece, I decided not to focus on the traumas, the pain, the violence that we as Indigenous peoples face every day. This is not to say those parts of our communities’ realities is not important, because it is, and the impacts of continual colonization on our bodies, communities, and Lands still needs more awareness in the general public. For this piece, I wanted to focus on the beauty of my culture and center some of the ways we care for and maintain our mental health and well-being. Our resilience, our power, our strength, comes from our cultures, our communities, and the Lands and Waters that sustain us. Indigenous Mental Health truly is holistic in every sense.