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The following are comments offered to Healing Works.

I highly recommend Joanne at Healing Works for any spiritual or mental health guidance, counseling or coaching. She's available via Skype, phone or in person for sessions.

I know that doing our sessions via phone were sooo helpful for me. I was able to stay in the comfort of my own home while talking to you and working out some major internal stuff.

It took away a lot of the pressure and anxiety - to be able to just talk on the phone from home.

And then after we met in person several times, I loved meeting with you via Skype. Our sessions are invaluable to me and my personal growth.

She's been instrumental in my healing path and has helped me focus on my inner work. Love, gratitude and respect.

Veronica Johnny of The Johnnys -

An Ordinary Hero Julia's Blog - June 29th, 2011

Each June and October, Ryerson University’s convocation ceremonies remind me of my purpose as a university administrator. Lest I start to think that what I do is the university, convocation is a concrete reminder that our students, their achievements, their families’ sacrifices and their pride are the university.

Honoris causa

Convocation season is also a time to be exposed to people whose exemplary qualities have led Ryerson to honour them with our highest award – an honorary doctorate. This year, I had a remarkable experience at the June 10th Community Services convocation that celebrated the conferring of a Doctor of Laws honoris causa on Joanne H. Dallaire.

Joanne is a community elder, counselor and traditional healer. Drawing on her extensive social-services expertise, at Ryerson she provides traditional counseling and student development services in the Aboriginal Student Services office. Joanne is also a member of the university’s Advisory Council on Aboriginal Issues and Education, where she helps to ensure that future generations of Native people will have greater educational opportunities at the university.

Earlier this year, I blogged about Viola Desmond as an “accidental hero. Joanne isn’t exactly “accidental”; rather, I might apply the adjective “ordinary” to her type of heroism.

Why? Because Joanne reaches inside herself to expose the pain of being the child of a residential school survivor; the child of a mother who didn’t know how to love her; and a woman who has suffered abuse, experienced poverty, and endured social isolation.

But, rather than turn those challenges against the world or herself, Joanne draws on them in order to be a healer. I think I speak for many who encountered Joanne at convocation for the first time that being in her presence is in and of itself healing.

Joanne’s gift

As the graduands and the stage party proceeded into the auditorium, John Wakefield’s piping gave way to a stirring drum ceremony (evoking our mothers’ and Mother Earth’s heartbeats) – a fitting aural prelude to Joanne’s speech. From the start of her address, I felt tears well up in my eyes, tears which soon began trickling down my cheeks. It was only when Joanne concluded her address and I saw that two members of the Board of Governors had also been crying that I realized how profound a gift Joanne had shared with us that day.

By giving so much of herself – through her career and in that speech – Joanne connected us emotionally to her and to each other. By speaking authentically from her values and from her experience, she allowed us to witness a profound kind of heroism.

Dr Joanne Dallaire, elder, Ryerson community member, healer, leader … hero.

Julia E. Hanigsberg, Vice President, Administration and Finance Ryerson University


Several years ago, I acquired the attached PDF regarding Vicarious Trauma. I kept it for personal reference, as I work with Survivors of Indian Residential Schools. Thank you for the information!

I write to you today to ask your permission to provide this document to a University of Regina practicum class for the faculty of Social Work (~40 students). My wife is a Lecturer for the faculty and wants to provide her students with information regarding Vicarious Trauma and she really likes how clear and concise your write-up is.

I would leave the document unaltered, so it will be clear to them where the information came from. The header references your company name, website, and contact information.

Please let me know if this is acceptable. It will not be distributed to the students without your permission.

Thank you,

D. M.

Joanne has been a real blessing to any of the work I've done in the area of Aboriginal health.

Whenever I need someone who has loads of traditional knowledge I try to bring Joanne to the table.  She is incredibly funny, personable, humble, and inspiring.

Joanne truly connects with people in workshops and talking circles, and she helps people value their personal strengths while inspiring them to improve their work.

Many people have commented to me that Joanne is the person that has inspired them the most when reflecting on workshops that I've organized in the past.

I highly recommend Joanne as a traditional adviser in any setting.

Top Qualities: Personable, Expert, High Integrity

Melanie Ferris

Anishnawbe author and health promoter, Huntinghawk Communications

Hi Joanne.

You more than likely don't remember me but I sure remember you. I had done some intensive counselling with you back when I was 12 years old and going through a rough patch in my life.

I am now 22 years old and proud mother of a 5 year old son, I have obtained a diploma in Social Service Work and currently working towards another in Travel & Tourism.

The reason for this e-mail was just to thank you for your great healing, you'll always have a special place in my heart and I'm sure many more.

I have seen your great achievements, congratulations you more than deserve it, you truly are a healer sent from the creator.

Once again thank you, you changed my life forever.

Hi Joanne

Thank you so much.  I listened to my reading and it was great.  Thank you so much again, you don't know how much you have guided me.


Dear Joanne Dallaire:

The University of Toronto, Special Needs Opportunity Windows (SNOW) Project, would like to sincerely thank you for the teaching that you provided titled  “The Importance of Understanding Disability from a First Nations Perspective.”

Your teachings provided educators and parents of individuals with special needs, a valuable and unique on-line resource that focused on the Seven Grandfather teaching and inclusion. Also, the companion hand-out that you created for the teaching was very helpful, informative and insightful.

The feedback from community organizations and educators alike was very positive! The comments ranged from “There needs to be more resources like this out there!” to “What a great teaching! I learned a lot!”

Thank you once again for a wonderful job. You were a pleasure to work with and the SNOW Project is very grateful for the teaching. Thanks!


Heather Shand

'SNOW' Project Coordinator - University of Toronto

Hello Joanne:

It is with great pleasure that I provide feedback for your website.  Leslie and I were very pleased with the overall experience of working with you from our initial planning meeting to the actual delivery of the Vicarious Trauma Workshop.

The Vicarious Trauma workshop content was very comprehensive and provided thorough subject matter and spoke to a diverse audience.  The overall workshop was invigorating, thought provoking, very stimulating and meaningful for everyone who participated. Joanne challenged us to look at things differently, to think outside of the box, and created a very comfortable and safe environment with many opportunities for significant self reflection.

We have been able to apply the learning’s from the workshop to our day to day work and have benefited from the practical applications we took away from the workshop.

Her refreshing balance of professionalism, cultural practices and sense of humor made for a very successful workshop!

We would definitely recommend Healing Works to colleagues and utilize Joanne’s expertise for future workshops.


Lambrina Nikolaou - Director of Community Program

Leslie Saunder - The Meeting Place Program Coordinator

Dear Joanne:

On behalf of the Training Committee and staff at Fred Victor Centre I would like to thank you for the informative presentation you provided for us at the Boundaries Workshop. Your knowledge, experiences, cultural identity and sense of humor created an honest, friendly and professional learning environment.

You brought clarity and more importantly understanding to why it is important to maintain boundaries in and out of the workplace. We are regularly confronted with challenging situations when dealing with people especially when there are grey areas.  It was helpful when you addressed the implications of relationships between staff on and off work, and staff’s responsibilities when dealing with clients outside of the workplace.

You are a captivating storyteller; it was helpful to hear how you have woven your life experiences into your professional career.  The feedback from staff was very positive, and has continued to stimulate discussions.

Joanne, once again thank you and we look forward to working with you in the future.


Training Committee, Fred Victor Centre

Joanne Dallaire is an exceptional woman. Joanne fosters and advances harmony among the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal community.  It has been through her individual efforts of sharing her knowledge and personal experiences that has greatly enhanced cross-cultural understanding, and has improved and provided new means of overcoming barriers and differences.

Her words are inspirational, her voice is calming, her knowledge is impeccable, her experiences are inspirational, but most importantly her heart and soul are put into all the work that she does.

A true gift to others, she willingly shares her talents with the Toronto community without hesitation.  Working with the program I currently manage to promote Aboriginal culture, Joanne has never left any of the groups she has attended with a negative response.  These groups include government departments, local Aboriginal organizations, schools, companies and large corporations.

Through her remarkable efforts, Joanne Dallaire is an inspiration to all.  I can see her new knowledge and understanding leading to a place of healing, harmony and peace-making.  It has been an honour to have met her.

Julia Valencia, Manager

Dodem Kanonsha

Dear Joanne:

I am writing to let you know how much I value you and your services. The healing work you have done for me has inspired me to continue on my career path and move through some very difficult challenges.

I love that you are so forthcoming and straight to the point. I’ve been seeking healing and traditional counseling for several years in Toronto and I have to say that when any of my friends or colleagues need such services, you are one of the first to come to my mind.

You are respectful, humble and honorable in what you do, and it is obvious that your heart is with the community. Your commitment to helping people to empower themselves is remarkable and your open-minded and inclusive approach is refreshing.

The one-on-one sessions I have had with you have been incredibly eye-opening and helpful to me. Through your connection to healing energy, not only have you given me new insights, but you have helped me to apply these insights to my life in a way that promotes well-being and success.

When I hear you speak in circles or workshops, I always know I will get good, practical teachings as well as a good laugh because you put such wonderful humour into your work. Thank you for being so real. It is a pleasure to know you and I look forward to your next workshop.

Chi Meegwetch:

Brenda MacIntyre, Medicine Song Woman

Hi Joanne:

It was an absolute pleasure to have you speaking with the student teachers today. They were blown away by your talk!!

You truly hit on the important and often missed parts of teaching--connecting on an equal and emotional level.

We had them debrief a little after you left and they just could not say enough about the impact your talk had and how well placed it was before they go into the schools on Monday.


Jeff Kugler
Executive Director
Centre for Urban Schooling
Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto