OUR COMMITMENT TO ANTI-RACISM
An apology to Indigenous People and People of Colour
Neuropsychology North and its clinicians share the apology issued and commitment made by ACPRO in 2021 (An Apology to Indigenous People and a Pledge to Be Anti-Racist (acpro-aocrp.ca)). Some of the language below is borrowed from the ACPRO statement.
On October 16, 2020, the Federal Ministers of Health, Indigenous Services, Crown-Indigenous Relations, and Northern Affairs issued a joint statement which declared a commitment to eliminate systemic racism in the healthcare system, saying: “It is unacceptable that First Nations, Inuit and Métis continue to endure systemic racism and discrimination when seeking the care they need. Racism kills and systemic racism kills systematically”. They further stated: “We must work together with Indigenous partners and health professionals, governing bodies, and provinces and territories in order to end racism and systemic discrimination and ensure equal and compassionate care of Indigenous Peoples.”
We agree with this joint statement. Specific actions must be taken to address specific racism in the healthcare system. Neuropsychology North commits to promoting anti-racism and to supporting other psychologists to do the same.
As a profession, psychology has relied on methods and epistemologies that have been harmful to the rights and dignities of Indigenous people and other racialized groups. We acknowledge these failures and the profound negative impacts they have had on Indigenous people and people of colour. We commit to moving forward in a good way.
We stand by the activists of Black Lives Matter who are fighting to end racial discrimination, police brutality and systemic racism. We commit to supporting anti-racism work in our professional and personal lives. We aspire to be allies to those who are oppressed or who have experienced neocolonial violence.
Neuropsychology North will be guided by Indigenous elders and professionals, as well as other knowledge-keepers from racialized communities, and by the legal and ethical requirements to provide respect, dignity, and equity in providing psychological services for Indigenous people and people of colour.
We value the wisdom of First Nations, Metis, and Inuit communities and integrate them into our assessments.
It is important to us that we practice in a culturally safe way. We are committed to using a "two-eyed seeing" approach in psychological assessment.
What might this look like for you or your loved one? We would first ask about the type of assessment you are looking for and for whom. We would want to know the types of questions you wish to have answered by the assessment. Are you interested in learning about diagnoses (from a Western, medical perspective)? Are you interested in learning about the strengths and weaknesses in a person's thinking skills? Are you interested in learning what types of interventions and supports would be helpful, given someone's experiences and current felt sense?
We can help answer all of those questions and will work with you to determine which ones you are seeking to have answered.
We use a "two-eyed seeing" approach by seeking to understand the client and their community through an Indigenous world view as well as through a Western, medical world view. To do this we may ask to speak with trusted family, Elders, and knowledge keepers to understand the client and their community using traditional knowledge. We do our best to follow cultural protocol during these conversations, to make sure we are going about this in a good way. When appropriate, we use tobacco for ceremony, smudge our office space, and try to bring small gifts when we meet with Elders. We work to respect different protocols and are happy to take a different approach.
Traditional knowledge is as important to us as the information we gather using Western psychological approaches.
For us, it is vital to honour Indigenous traditional teaching, languages, and knowledge in our work. This approach also helps us understand what may be helpful for the client on their healing journey, taking into account all their relations.
If you would be interested in learning more about "two-eyed seeing", please let us know. Alternatively, if you have resources and teachings that you would like to share with us, we would be grateful.
We are committed to learning.