Module 2 Case Study
Attention: This case study may trigger your emotions. Please book an appointment with one of the counselors at our Learner Success Services if you need any support. The author of the case study, Crystal Manyfingers, who is a teaching and learning consultant at Bow Valley College, will also be happy to provide additional support.
Saul Indian Horse is a husband and father from the Stoney Nakoda First Nation in Southern Alberta. At the age of five years, Saul was taken away from his parents’ home and forced to attend the Dunbow Industrial/Residential School east of the town of High River. The children who arrived at the residential school were called ‘heathens’ and ‘savages’ by the residential school caregivers.
From the time Saul first arrived at the Residential School, he felt waves of vulnerability as he was surrounded by strangers, not to mention loneliness for his parents and brothers and sisters. He was often punished with physical abuse if he spoke his own Stoney Nakoda language to the other children. He often went to bed suffering from cuts and bruises and often with an empty stomach. At first the only thing Saul could do to ask for food was to point to his own mouth and beg for food. The caregivers would only react with laughter while shaking their heads. Saul’s only understanding of love was that he should ‘love’ the caregivers at the residential school for teaching him new things.
At the age of 19, Saul was finally released from the Residential School and ended up on the streets of Calgary (Moh’kinstsis), Alberta. Instantly, Saul was exposed to the world of drugs and alcohol on the streets. Saul was arrested a number of times for petty crimes, including theft and breaking and entering. After one particularly traumatic incident, Saul decided to get help for his alcohol and drug addiction so he entered the Elbow River Healing Lodge. Saul had a hard time with Elders and counselors giving him hugs because of the unwanted and abusive touch he had experienced in his childhood. Saul learned about traditional healing approaches to his drug and alcohol dependence, met other survivors of the residential schools, and was able to share his traumatic experiences of childhood physical and mental abuse.
After his time spent at the Healing Lodge, Saul met a beautiful woman who later became his wife. They had three children together and Saul was happy to be a good provider for his wife and family. When he was out and about with this family, he was always holding hands with his wife or with one of the children. One hot sunny day after work a group of co-workers decided to go out to a pub to celebrate their week of hard work. Saul decided that one drink wouldn’t hurt him but he found himself very angry at the world that night, and when he arrived home much later he felt very guilty and ashamed of himself.
Saul’s feelings of guilt overwhelmed him so much that he began to close off from his wife and family. He no longer offered them hugs and he rejected his wife’s hand when she tried to clasp his. His wife talked him into visiting their elder Casey Eagle Speaker. Casey taught him to understand that the one night of drinking with his friends triggered his reaction to his many years of abuse at the Dunbow School. Saul was encouraged to share some experiences at Dunbow with Casey. Without knowing why, Saul felt a part of him died again when trying to describe his experience and his sentences were broken and often inaudible. After the meeting, Saul took Casey’s advice to apologize and to express love to his wife and children, but he pointed to his mouth and looked at them in silence. With a painful expression on his face, Saul said a couple of words in Nakoda language to them hesitantly and looked out of the window.
After spending many months with Casey, Saul had the courage to return to the site of Dunbow and met with one of the residential school caregivers who lived nearby. The caregiver had tears all over his face, reaching out to Saul and asking for his forgiveness. Remembering the traditional teachings of the elders, Saul accepted the caregiver’s apology calmly without feelings of anger.
When Saul turned 50, his wife threw him a big celebration and publicly acknowledged Saul as a loving and hardworking husband and father. Saul threw his arms around his wife and three children at the party and said “Hą́ tecíȟina no!” [Yes, I love you!] in Nakoda language with a smile. Saul announced that he had been accepted by Bow Valley College’s Addiction Studies—Aboriginal Focus Diploma program and would be on his way of becoming a support worker at the Elbow River Healing Lodge.
Part A: Case Study Questions
1. How do Saul’s nonverbal messages reflect his interpersonal relationship with the elders, counselors, and/or his family? Why? Apply two concepts from Chapter 7 in your answer.
2. The goal of the Federal Government’s assimilation policy was to “take the Indian out of the child.” How does the experience of residential school affect Saul’s verbal messages when he becomes an adult? Apply two concepts from Chapter 6 in your answer.
3. Saul is abused by the caregivers at the Dunbow Residential School, who use their power as clergy members illegitimately. Answer both of the below questions:
A. Consider the different types of power sources in Chapter 8 of the textbook: what kind(s) of power do the caregivers have over Saul as a child at the Dunbow Residential School?
B. At Casey’s advice, Saul returns to the site of the Dunbow Residential School as an adult and meets with one of the former caregivers nearby. The interpersonal power between the two has changed since Saul’s internment at the Residential School. How does this change reflect some of the power principles, as explained in Chapter 8 of the textbook? Choose two of these principles and explain how they’re represented in Saul and the caregiver’s evolving relationship.
4. When Saul tried to share his experience at the residential school, he felt that a part of him died again. Imagine that you are Casey Eagle Speaker, and write a dialogue between Casey and Saul (as in, write what you as Casey and Saul could say and do) by following the guidelines about listening and responding skills in Chapter 5 of the textbook.
Note: If you quote a sentence or a few words from the case study in your answer, include an in-text citation. See Part C below for more information.
Part B: Field Study
Please complete either the written option or the video option for the field study.
Think about a time where you expressed your anger or sadness towards another person ineffectively. This incident happened mostly because of what you said and did to the other person. In other words, you got angry with yourself because of your own behaviour; you were upset because of what you said and did to this other person. The purpose of this self-reflective exercise is not for you to blame the other person for your own emotions, but for you to critically reflect on your communication with this person. Answer the following questions:
1. Describe the situation clearly: Who was involved? What happened in the interaction? What went wrong in your verbal communication with this person? Refer to at least two concepts from Chapter 6 of the textbook when you reflect on your verbal messages, and Chapter 7 when you reflect on your nonverbal messages. Provide specific examples in your answer,
2. What strategies do you think you could use to improve your emotional communication? Refer to the textbook’s suggestions in Chapter 5 about improving responding skills, in Chapter 6 about effective verbal expression, and/or in Chapter 7 about effective nonverbal expression for guidance. You can choose one suggestion from each chapter, or focus on suggestions only one or two chapters for this answer.
Imagine that you have the opportunity to have the same conversation with this person. Write a dialogue with this person (as in, write what you and the other person could say and do) that has a positive outcome by applying the strategies from your answer above. Indicate in your dialogue when and where you use these strategies