Workshop topics

A local Indigenous scholar will lead a public workshop on grief, loss and trauma at the Pioneer Museum

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Parry Stelter is not a professional adviser.

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The local Indigenous scholar and founder of Word of Hope Ministries wants to clarify that fact ahead of his upcoming public workshop at the Stony Plain and Parkland Pioneer Museum.

Entitled “Dealing with and Understanding Intergenerational Grief, Loss and Trauma from an Indigenous Perspective”, the workshop will address topics such as historical injustices committed against Canada’s Indigenous population, the stages of grief and how to coping with trauma and loss. It will take place on Monday March 21 at 7:00 p.m.

“I’m not trying to be a psychologist. It is based on my own research and comes more from a basic experiential type model. I share my experience of a personal and holistic approach to better understand the grieving process,” Stelter said.

The self-organized workshop follows his previous one, “Understanding Indigenous Peoples More,” which he led at the Pioneer Museum on Feb. 21 as part of the annual “Monday Night at the Museum” lecture series. The presentation was his first assignment as an “Indigenous Representative” for the Stony Plain Cultural Roundtable (CRT). It targeted a non-Indigenous audience who wanted to learn more about Indigenous peoples and culture in general.

The next workshop will be a stand-alone presentation targeting both Indigenous and non-Indigenous audiences. While everyone is welcome, he said it was primarily aimed at those whose ethnicity has been victimized by colonialism, imperialism and/or genocide, such as recently Ukrainians.

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Stelter has been presenting this workshop throughout the community for three years. It was designed to go deeper into some of the topics covered in his other workshop. He said the goal is to generate more empathy rather than sympathy among the general population by educating them about some of the hardships that Indigenous peoples in Canada have endured over the past 500 years.

“There are a lot of aboriginal people who are struggling with a number of different issues and they haven’t really understood why. Sometimes when they learn about the things that have contributed to intergenerational trauma with Indigenous peoples as a whole, they can quickly understand why they or certain family members may have struggled with certain issues,” said Stelter.

Although Stelter has no other workshops scheduled at this time, the CRT Board has given him permission to hold similar events whenever he wishes at the Pioneer Museum as long as he does not charge for the audience for their participation. He said he will discuss future opportunities with the CRT at the next board meeting.

“Coping with grief, loss and trauma is more than just mourning the loss of a loved one. The process is complicated, but the more we talk about it, the easier it is to understand and the more likely we are to move forward in our lives as we can recognize the different phases we go through,” Stelter said.

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