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Trauma is real

Trauma is real: A legacy of harms and resilience then and now for African Canadians

This panel will share knowledge and examine issues of trauma-informed social work practice and resilience across the life span for African Nova Scotians and the African Black and Caribbean community.

Speakers: Shawna Hoyte, Jackie Barkley, Lana MacLean

Shawna Hoyte.jpeg

Shawna Paris-Hoyte, QC, MSW, RSW, is a multi-disciplinary and inter-professional practitioner as a social worker, lawyer and educator. She holds degrees in the arts, social work and the law from Dalhousie University. She is currently completing a PhD in social work at Memorial University in Newfoundland.

Shawna has worked in mental health and addition services with children and youth IWK Health Centre in Halifax, N.S. and as an EFAP with specialty in depression care, trauma informed care, family therapy and children with anxiety. 

As a licensed private practice clinical social worker, Shawna continues to share her knowledge in mental health and addictions, cultural competency, public legal education, social work practice and education, and human rights. She has trained, supervised and taught social workers in the BSW and MSW programs.

She has been recognized locally and nationally for her collaborative work in law and social work. In 2016, Shawna founded the National Institute of Forensic Social Work ( which provides professional development and consulting services to social workers and others in the social services industry regarding law and social work competencies. Shawna was awarded the 2016 Distinguished Service Award in Social Work by the CASW/ NSASW and is a Queens’s Counsel (11’).

Shawna’s current research interests at the doctoral level are the impacts and influences of transgenerational/intergenerational trauma via epigenetics; anti-black racism and resiliency after historical & racial trauma, program development and education in clinical forensic social work practice; corrections reintegration programming and social justice and policy development.


Lana M. MacLean, MSW, RSW, is a registered practicing clinical social worker with 25 years of experience. Lana has worked in the fields of addiction, mental health and acute care working with various client populations. Lana has a spent the majority of her career working in the ABC communities.

Since 2013 Lana has included working with the Mi’kmaq families and communities on child welfare matters and parenting.

Lana is an expert witness, qualified by the Nova Scotia Supreme Court (Trial Division), in the area of race and cultural issues as they relate to sentencing of African Nova Scotians, and on issues of race , culture and attachment in family matters. Lana has conducted cultural impact assessments (CIA) on matters related to sentencing, custody access and child welfare.

NSCSW has called Lana “one of the most important leaders in Nova Scotia and increasingly across Canada, in the developing models for the provision of social and culturally competent assessments of African Nova Scotian clients involved in the criminal justice system in particular and as well in the family court system…Lana is actively involved in public advocacy.”

Lana has presented at local, national and international conferences on the area of cultural competency in mental health and addictions, race and trauma informed care.

Lana was the recipient of the 2017 NSCSW Ron Stratford Award. Lana continues to work within her discipline by precepting MSW learners and supervising social workers in their candidacy.

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Jacqueline Barkley, MSW, RSW, has over 35 years as a social worker, with counselling experience on the IWK Child Abuse Team, Choices Adolescent Treatment program, the Short Stay mental health service at the Nova Scotia Hospital, in private practice, outpatient mental health, the IWK Crisis Team., and in child welfare, with the Geriatric Assessment Unit and Corrections Canada.

Jackie began her career as a community organizer in the old North End of Halifax, and assisted in the development of anti-poverty programs, welfare rights and tenants organizations. Jackie’s interest in issues of cultural competence and anti-racism work began during years of community activism, her participation as a singer and manager of the women’s a capella group Four the Moment, and in her master’s program completion of a thesis on racial issues in the delivery of mental health services.

Over the course of her professional career, she continued to volunteer in a range of capacities, including with Friends of Dalhousie Legal Aid, Community Justice Society, North End Day Care, Model School Committee, Social Policy Review Committee, and the Housing for People Coalition.

Jackie was a 17 year member of the Metro Coalition for a Non-Racist Society. The Coalition worked in advocacy and solidarity with the African Nova Scotian, Aboriginal and new Canadian communities – including conducting presentations on racism and white privilege, and province-wide distribution of their book Racism: Whose Problem?

For over 15 years, Jackie has written, lectured extensively and conducted training workshops, on contemporary child and parent relations. Her publications include chapters in Power and Resistance: Critical Thinking About Canadian Social Issues, Daily Meaning: Counter Narratives of Teachers’ Work, and a commentary in the November 2009 issue of the “Journal of the Canadian Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry”.

Earlier Event: May 24
Awards banquet
Later Event: May 24
Moving past trauma-informed