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Indigenous Approaches to Resilience & Healing

This workshop will explore Indigenous approaches to resilience prior to engaging the audience in practical exercises to self-reflect and build resilience for their own healing and wellbeing. We will lay the foundation for healing-centered practices by discussing various Indigenous wellness approaches, including decolonizing methodologies, the seven generations principle, the seven circles of wellness, and an Indigenous reconceptualization of Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems model. We will then move into applying these theories with interactive activities for the audience. We will also include some key takeaways via a handout, and discuss ways for the audience to continue engaging in these practices.


Amy's Story (she/her)

Amy Salinas Westmoreland (she/her/hers) is Western’s inaugural Director of Multicultural Student Services. She manages the Ethnic Student Center, Black Student Coalition, and Blue Resource Center. Born and raised in Racine, WI, Amy has lived throughout the country (WI, PA, CA, WA), and now calls Bellingham home. Amy has been a leader in higher education for over twelve years with her previous positions including Assistant Director of Social Justice Programs at University of Wisconsin-Madison and Director of Assessment for the Office of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity at Penn State. She earned her B.A. in English and Women’s Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration at Penn State. The foundation of Amy’s work is creating accessible, equitable, and inclusive spaces that celebrate and amplify the voices of BIPOC, QTPOC, and other marginalized communities


JoHahn's Story (he/they)

JoeHahn [Pronounced JoHAAN] (he/they mononym) is the LGBTQ+ Director at Western Washington University. They grew up in Sacramento, CA and have centered their work on intersectionality with an Afrofuturist lens. Holistic wellbeing is crucial to them, so they also enjoy taking care of their bodymind through reading, hiking, gaming, and spending time with their partner Caleb and pets Pixel and Atticus. JoeHahn has a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies from Western Oregon University and an MS in Student Affairs in Higher Education from Colorado State University.


Sislena's Story

Sislena Grocer Ledbetter, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, researcher, lecturer, author, and life coach. She received a Bachelor's degree in psychology from North Carolina Central University. She earned her Master's and Doctoral degrees in psychology with honors from Howard University. Her post-graduate studies include educational leadership training from Georgetown University Graduate School of Professional Studies and Harvard University Graduate School of Education. Her research interests include exploring life satisfaction and wellbeing for women in midlife. She is also interested in exploring healing spaces and their impact on learning and leadership, organizational power dynamics for Black women, and the implications of mentoring on organizational mobility. She is a member of NASPA, the American Psychological Association, and the Association of Black Psychologists and serves on several non-profit boards of directors. She serves as chair-elect for the United States Health Promoting Campuses Network - dedicated to infusing wellbeing into all aspects of campus culture. Her research interests include exploring black love relationships and resilience in the Black community.


Brandon's Story

Brandon Joseph is the Director of Student Resilience in the Counseling, Health, and Wellness department and the Diversity and Inclusion Designee in Athletics at Western Washington University. He provides non-clinical support for students in navigating their college journey and fostering an experience rich in holistic wellbeing. In collaboration with campus and community partners, he has hosted various campus wellness events, initiatives, and programs. He also works closely to support the Multicultural Student Services area. Brandon has served on various campus committees devoted to moving forward conversations of accessibility, diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging at WWU.

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