Elder Little Brown Bear, the Junos and Us


Hello, This is Michael Kerman. As some of you may know, Max Kerman of The Arkells is my son. His act of reconciliation at the Junos this year in London, Ontario encouraged me to write this.

On  April 25 and 26, we are honoured to host Elder Little Brown Bear for a two day workshop: Learning from the Knowledge Keepers: Traditional Indigenous Healing for Modern Times

The purpose of the workshop is threefold. As an organization providing professional continuing education, we believe Elder Little Brown Bear’s wisdom, teaching and experience offer rich insight into the healing process and working with people regardless of cultural ancestry. Western-trained mental health professionals might think that therapy began in the 19th century. But cultures throughout the world have been addressing the spirit and the psyche long before the written word and Freud. Transmitted primarily through oral traditions, these time-tested healing practices evolved over generations to address what we now call anxiety, depression, and trauma.

Community support, ritual and story-telling are traditional interventions to facilitate resilience and behavioural change. Jerome Frank’s impressive review of what were mistakenly called “primitive cultures” Persuasion and Healing was an important beacon for me.

Elder Little Brown Bear’s experience will provide a window into his Indigenous healing traditions. And all of us stand to benefit whether or not we are of Aboriginal descent. He offers valuable insight that will help us help our clients.

Secondly there is the “personal growth” aspect of this workshop. This workshop is an opportunity to learning about ourselves and our own habits and strategies of dealing with difficult times. The second day of this workshop will include many indigenous community members who will join with professional community members in sharing and learning together. This will be a hands-on and experiential day.

And finally, (though I hadn’t thought much about this until Max’s Juno night invitation to Jeremy Dutcher) this session is my invitation to those of you in the “mainstream” as well as our Indigenous colleagues to join together to promote reconciliation and understanding. This has been Elder Little Brown Bear’s commitment and he promotes this every day in his work with all people.

It was a “no brainer” to extend my hand to him after being invited to participate in several healing ceremonies that he led and and that were open to all cultural communities.

Please consider joining us for Learning from the Knowledge Keepers, April 25 – 26, Toronto.