‘Identity in America’ Series Continues with Discussion of Native Americans and Intergenerational Trauma


MACON – Mercer University will continue its “Identity in America” series March 21 at 6 p.m. with a discussion of “The First Americans: Hope and Healing with a Native American Medicine Story” in Willingham Auditorium.

The University's Center for Community Engagement, Department of International and Global Studies and Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) Office are collaborating on the series, which is free and open to the public. Additionally, Mercer's chapter of Phi Kappa Phi sponsored this third event in the four-part series, which will feature Shianne Eagleheart, a Haudenosounee-Seneca and executive director and founder of The Red Bird Center Inc. in Cambridge, Ohio.

The Red Bird Center employs an “indigenous healing model” focused on restoring the spirit and bringing unity and connection within communities. Eagleheart is a licensed independent counselor and native healer. She has extensive clinical experience in the treatment of adult and adolescent trauma survivors as it relates to chemical dependency, PTSD, dissociative disorders, re-victimization and violent offending.

Laura Fong, visiting assistant professor of journalism and journalist-in-residence at Mercer's Center for Collaborative Journalism, introduced Eagleheart to the “Identity in America” series planning committee.

“Shianne Eagleheart can only be described as a holy woman,” Fong said. “She is clinically trained as well as an expert in the Native American healing ways that have been passed on to her from many generations. Her personal story has become her medicine, which I have witnessed heal and transform many people. Her approach to life is a gift to everyone, and she has taught me that we all have much more in common than we are often willing to admit.” 

Eagleheart will share a medicine story called “The Wounded Bear,” a presentation developed in response to the violence and heartbreak she has witnessed in her community.

“We are thrilled to have Shianne Eagleheart at Mercer, and we're grateful to the Mercer chapter of Phi Kappa Phi for bringing her here,” said Hannah Vann, coordinator of community engagement at Mercer. “She has a stellar reputation in her work with trauma patients, and her “Wounded Bear” presentation comes highly recommended. With the activism surrounding the Dakota Access Pipeline and the media coverage of the water protectors at the Standing Rock camp, we knew that we had to spotlight Native Americans in this series.”

The final event in the “Identity in America” series will discuss “America, Land of the Free? Taking Action to Shape American Equality” on April 4. Panelists and additional details will be released at a later date.