Our guest on this episode is Dr. David Danto, who is the Head of Psychology at the University of Guelph Humber. Dr. Danto’s clinical and research interests include Indigenous wellness and culture-based approaches to addressing intergenerational trauma in local and global contexts. David is involved in allyship and decolonization efforts within the discipline and the academy.
Dr. Danto has worked in psychiatric hospitals, counselling centers, private practice, and correctional facilities in Canada and the United States. In partnership with Indigenous Knowledge Keepers, he developed a field course on Indigenous Mental Health, which he has delivered in Mushkegowuk Territory along the James and Hudson Bay coast for the last ten years. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA), he recently chaired the CPA Task Force on Responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report, and he currently Chairs the CPA Standing Committee on Reconciliation.
In this episode Sally and Dr. Danto talk about the early experiences and influences that brought David to this work. We also talk about David’s work learning alongside his students from the people in the Mushkegowuk territory in Northern Ontario. David shares his thoughts about how far we have to go toward achieving justice and true reconciliation, and how the first step is to learn the truth of the experience of Indigenous people in Canada and connecting in a spirit of humility and openness with Indigenous people.
“Learning isn’t enough. A genocide has happened here. I think there is a growing awareness that is just really beginning. And despite that, there is such a great warmth of spirit, generosity and resilience within the indigenous community, which is, according to some research, one tenth of the population of indigenous people that existed pre contact. That needs to be understood, respected and appreciated.”
Indigenous Knowledge and Mental Health: https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-030-71346-1
Psychology’s Response to the Truth and Reconciliation Report: https://cpa.ca/docs/File/Task_Forces/TRC%20Task%20Force%20Report_FINAL.pdf