A graduate of the M.A. and Center for World Indigenous Studies partnership program, Amy Desjarlais’s final project was a journey of both self-discovery and research into culturally-appropriate consultation methods. The thesis, “Emptying the Cup: Healing Fragmented Identity: an Anishinawbekwe Perspective on Historical Trauma and Culturally Appropriate Consultation,” addresses how historical tribulation continues to impact daily lives. Desjarlais explains that she uses the metaphor “Emptying the Cup” to describe the healing process: “The healing that takes place is akin to pouring the negative, self-defeating, and DANGEROUS ideals out of the vessel in order to make way for new things to replace it with. I sought out wisdom-keepers who could help me fill my vessel with teachings of our people, ways of healing and learning how to practice our way of life.”
The Canadian government has mandated consultation with First Nation peoples, which led Desjarlais to ask, “How can two completely different cultures successfully communicate, let alone consult, when the frameworks are so profoundly at odds with each other?” Her thesis is an exploration of the ways to bridge the worldviews, so individuals can come together to determine common goals, objectives, and understandings. The first step is to "translate" the consultation discussion so that the intent for all involved is similar. Desjarlais points out that building a culturally appropriate consultation will be unique for each group consulted.