New Paths for Healing: SSW Alumna Brave Heart Draws Delegation from ME

When social worker Esther Attean began working with fellow members of Maine’s Wabanaki communities in the late 1990s, she discovered they lacked a framework for talking about the losses Native Americans have sustained over generations in her state.

“The effects of trauma—feelings of grief, stress, anger and anxiety—were all passed down,” said Attean, who co-directs Maine-Wabanaki REACH, a cross-cultural collaborative that is working to develop better child welfare practices with Native American families. “But a lot of our trauma is still unresolved because it hasn’t been acknowledged.”

Attean and her colleagues at REACH (short for Reconciliation, Engagement, Advocacy, Change, Healing) then learned about the work of Maria Yellow Horse Brave Heart, who earned a Ph.D. from the Smith College School for Social Work in 1995 and who will be speaking at Smith on Monday, July 27.


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