National Anti-Drug Strategy Speaker Series featuring Dr.Colleen Anne Dell

In support of the National Anti-Drug Strategy Youth Justice, and Strategic Initiatives and Law Reform Department of Justice Canada invites you to attend a presentation by Dr. Colleen Anne Dell

From Stilettos to Moccasins: The Healing Journeys of Criminalized First Nations Women from Illicit Drug Abuse

When? April 15, 2010 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Where? Department of Justice Canada, 284 Wellington Street, EMB 1006


The presentation will be in English.

Drug addiction among Aboriginal women is a serious health concern in Canada. This presentation focuses on a research study that examined the role of stigma and identity in the healing journeys of over 100 primarily First Nations women in treatment for illicit drug abuse and their service providers. Introduced are: (1) the voices of our research team members with lived experience of healing from drug abuse about how their narratives guided the study, (2) the voices of interviewed treatment providers about gender-specific skills and traits that assist women in their healing journeys, and (3) the voices of women who shared their stories while in treatment about the importance of cultural identity in their healing. In collaboration with Woodland Cree singer/song writer Violet Naytowhow, the wisdom of the women who shared their stories of healing in the study were composed into a song titled From Stilettos to Moccasins. The findings of this study are conveyed in the song's focus on the interconnection between the negative impacts of stigma and the resilient value of cultural identity.

Colleen Anne Dell is an Associate Professor and Research Chair in Substance Abuse at the University of Saskatchewan in the Department of Sociology and School of Public Health. She is also a Senior Research Associate with the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse. Her community-based program of research focuses on the relationship between identity and healing from drug addiction, equine assisted learning as a healing approach to addictions, substance abuse programming, self-harm among women and girls, and the connection between youth resiliency and inhalant abuse. Her work has appeared in such journals as the International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, Journal of Aboriginal Health, Women and Criminal Justice Journal, Addiction, and Harm Reduction Journal and is available at: