Class of 2021
As an Indigenous Birthworker, Sheena Bradley advocates for culturally inclusive care for Indigenous families in our region, and helps to reclaim traditional birth practices.
She spoke with YMM about what inspires her to do the work she is passionate about.
YMM: Tell us more about your work in the community.
SB: In partnership with the University of Alberta, local Elders and myself along with other Nistawayaw aunties are helping to establish an Indigneous Family Mentoring program, as well as an Auntie on Call program to support families during birth and child rearing through culturally-inclusive care and traditional teachings.
I am a Traditional Herbalist and teach on the importance of reciprocity and traditional harvesting practices, and the importance of land stewardship. I traditionally harvest local botanicals that I use in my products and I sit on several committees in our region pertaining to Indigneous Land Stewardship.
YMM: What is something people are always surprised to learn about you?
SB: I turned to plants to heal my past. I suffer from PTSD and am a survivor of abuse, CPS, abandonment and was a house-less youth. Trees can’t hurt you, Trees can’t get up and leave. If you need them, they are there. Give them a big hug, and feel them hug you back. Sit and listen to what Yarrow has to tell you, she’s our kin and can offer you love and protection. Healing your wounds both physically and spiritually. In our culture our plants and trees are our kin, they are our family. Connecting with plants has helped heal my past. Sometimes it’s difficult being in the “public eye” but when I go into the bush I remember why I do what I do. To help others heal as well.
YMM: For what are you most grateful?
SB: I can’t pick only one thing to be grateful for.
I’m so grateful for an inspiring wonderful group of friends, talented, creative and inspiring Indigenous women who are such integral parts of this community.
A supporting husband who is encouraging and always takes me out deep into the bush so we can find the most perfect medicine picking spots. While I am head-down connecting with plants, he’s always watching for bears and keeping us safe.
I feel so incredibly supported and held by this community. The support I have received by doing what I love has been so amazing. It keeps me going!