My name is Julie Casey and I was born in St. Thomas, Ontario on the traditional territory of the Anishinaabeg, Haudenosaunee, Attawandaron, and Wendat Peoples. My ancestry is British and Ukraine. I have been a visitor on Indigenous land all of my life. I have been privileged to live, heal, work, learn, study and listen on this territory, and I am immensely grateful for these opportunities. Thank you for having me. I am a white settler social worker and was a student at the University of Victoria engaging in a spiritual journey of decolonization while learning about helping and healing relationships from an Indigenous perspective. This experience led me to my own inward journey where I sought out the guidance of Indigenous Elders and Traditional Teachers from Oneida, Chippewa and Muncey-Deleware Nations to help me understand myself and to learn to listen to my heart. I am very grateful to have been welcomed into this community and to receive the teachings that come from traditional healing practices including sweats, smudging and fasting. Please know that my engagement with traditional knowledge and healing practices are for my own personal inner work only and are NOT included in my social work practices (unless requested and led by Indigenous clients) since this knowledge was gifted to me with trust and respect and is not mine to share.
My Bachelor of Social Work degree, as mentioned earlier, was completed at the University of Victoria where a Canadian Indigenous perspective was the foundation of the anti-oppressive and decolonizing program. Here I learned about colonization in Canada and how I can be an ally in decolonization and engage in cultural revitalization that supports Indigenous self-determination. During this time, I was very privileged to have the opportunity to engage in the research study, An Inward Journey: Indigenous Storytelling for Settler Social Workers. This project allowed me to engage the decolonizing process and utilize what I had learned from my studies while transforming it into action where I attempted to moved over, embracing my position as a humble listener, and created the space to privilege and honour Indigenous voices. Indigenous research methodologies were used to honour the tradition of oral story-telling as a way of knowing, being and sharing the knowledge and teachings that come from lived experiences.
In no way do I suggest that I know and understand the experience of Indigenous Peoples of Canada but rather I share my experiences with you to demonstrate my awareness and commitment to the Indigenous path to healing and solidarity.
It was Indigenous knowledge and healing practices that has inspired and taught me to live my life by the principles of the Seven Grandfather Teachings: Love, Respect, Bravery, Honesty, Humility, Truth and Wisdom. Living in this way led me to Nature & Animal Assisted Therapies which allows me to practice social work in an authentic and genuine way that reflects my valued relationship with animals and nature. Indigenous knowledge has given me so much, that I would like to give back in reciprocity and share what I have learn and live by.
In addition to my formal education and healing with traditional practices, I have also completed the San'yas Indigenous Cultural Safety Training and I am registered as a Mental Health Counselling service provider of Non-Insured Health Benefits for Indigenous Peoples.
Wellness Care Farm