Jenny Sawanohk, MSW, RSW
Truth and Reconciliation Specialist.
HeArtist. Feather Keeper.
Visionary and Caretaker of Misiwe Ni Relations Healing Lodge
Since I was a youth, I have always wanted to be a healer. I did not know at the time how that would manifest. I just knew that my Indigenous community was struggling, and that I wanted to be helpful. I studied psychology through Western institutions, and later found more answers about human behavior through ceremony with traditional Indigenous healers.
I believe that the world truly opens up when one focuses on energy and consciousness. I've always known there was more to what these human eyes could see, as I felt it in the plant and mineral world. When we can learn to listen to the calls of Nature, we will discover a wisdom with teachings that are incredibly beautiful and profound.
I look to our Wise Ones, the Elders and traditional Medicine People, for guidance. I have had the honor of learning from different Healers across Turtle Island. All offering something unique, yet all on the same level of thinking as I. I believe that our traditional Ways of doctoring are the answers to our collective healing. The ceremonies that lead us into and through our pain, and into our release of it, and from it.
Humanity as a whole has become lost in maladaptive coping strategies, such as avoidance and repression; and all too often prescribes to band aid solutions that only medicate symptoms and not the root cause. When for centuries our Natural World has provided us with a never-ending supply of the resources that we truly need. Everything in our environment is food or medicine, or both, and yet we have come to rely on chemical-fed systems and industries that destroy the very Earth in which we need to exist.
We have created homes and footwear that keep us disconnected from the grounding and stabilizing energy of our planet, and we wonder why we have become so disconnected from ourselves. We hide ourselves away in concrete jungles that keep us away from the teachers and healers that are our plant, animal and mineral kin, and mistakenly call these places our sanctuaries. Our Homes should be the most sacred of places. We play stranger and bystander to the world around us, and wonder why we experience a profound sense of loneliness. We should be treating each other as kin.
I am ready for change. Are you?
This is a call, a plea, for Us All to rise into the work that We are Here to do to Be of service.
Part of my service here is help guide people into this awareness, to assist you with knowing Who You Are and Why You Are Here, and give platform to, and create sacred space for, the needed leaders, healers, helpers and teachers, who can show us the way.
We need each and every one of you to help Us heal. You All have Medicine to share.
This world needs Us to heal, evolve to a new consciousness and do the work we are meant to do. I am answering this call by offering my own services, and a space to allow others to do the same.
This is also my response to the calls to action of truth and reconciliation. As an advocate and educator on Indigenous issues, I ask that all of us seek truth and understanding, and work towards forging new and compassionate relationships with each other, and with this planet.
Our Earth Mother and the future generations need Us. We must come together now and do what is in the best interest of our children and future generations.
Personal & Professional Experience
Born and raised on the James Bay Lowlands and Muskegowuk territory of the Moose Cree First Nation, the Mosoniw-Illiwak.
As an Indigenous youth and lover of athletics she represented Aboriginal Team Canada at the International Children’s Games in 1994, the first time the Games were held outside of Europe. Jenny represented Women's Team Ontario in Basketball at the North American Indigenous Games in Victoria, BC in 1997; in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 2002; and in Denver, Colorado in 2006. These games gave her a strong sense of Community and Indigenous Pride, which fuel the work she does with Indigenous youth today.
Graduated with an Honours degree in Psychology at Brock University in 2004.
Volunteer for Hurricane Katrina clean-up in the Houma Nation of Louisiana in 2006.
Completed her Masters in Social Work at the University of Toronto in 2007.
Experience working for many different children’s aid agencies across the province, such as Payukotayno in Moosonee, Durham in Oshawa, St. Catherine's and Niagara Falls, with children’s mental health in Muskoka and with the Advocacy Office in Toronto.
Keynote speaker on this topic at the Ontario Association of Residences Treating Youth (OARTY) conference in 2016.
Guest speaker for the Algonquin Medicine Man for his 2016 Summer Solstice Healing Circle and fundraiser to bring awareness to the issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.
Guest speaker for MoMondays in December 2016.
Instructor for Safeguards Training for Children and Adult Services in 2017.
Human Book for the Sir Wilfred Laurier and Colonel By Secondary School Human Library 2017, 2018, 2022.
Knowledge Keeper for the Ottawa Catholic School Board 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021.
Indigenous Blessing of Peace Day on the Hill 2018, 2019.
Board Member for Tone magazine 2020-Present.
Instructor for the Indigenous Foundations Training Program at Willis College 2020-2021.
SoulSpace Team Member, Support Provider for SoulSpace Ottawa 2021-Present.
One of Jenny's greatest blessings was to organize with fellow IACC board members and MC the Remember Me Ceremony on September 30th 2021 on Parliament Hill. A national gathering to remember Indigenous children & families affected by the Indian Residential Schools and all Indigenous child apprehension programs. https://remember-me-september-30.org/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vzLFjbC8Lk
What People Are Saying
Her sense of humour, her compassion and generous heart make for a very unique healing experience that only someone who has done a lot of healing themselves can provide.
The beautiful prognosis that she gave me was to release & step into the powerful woman that I am. I felt the difference deep in my core immediately and it has continue to expand.
The knowledge and understanding of trauma Jenny has is sure to open you up to a new way of healing yourself or aiding your clients on their journey of healing. It has been a blessing to know Jenny professionally.