Shaleena Bertram is Lummi (Quileute and
Nooksack). She has an A.A. in Business, a B.A.
majoring in Psychology, and a Master’s Degree
in Social Work from the University of Washington.
Her undergraduate and graduate studies were
spent examining and researching the Intergen-
erational Transmission of Trauma, also known as
In short, children are the unwitting recipients of
their parent’s trauma and this experience has
been taking place for several generations.
Affected individuals have difficulties in coping
with stress and have a higher vulnerability to
PTSD, low self-esteem, and difficulties with
interpersonal relationships. In looking at the
Relocation, Termination, Assimilation, and
Sterilization of our women it is no wonder that
our communities are still in a state of trauma.
It is with this cognition that Shaleena has
developed the foundation for her work as a
Mental Health Counselor in combating the
residual influences of Historical Trauma in her
community. Her objective is to encourage her
clients to find their strengths and become em-
powered in shaping their futures.
Shaleena has been working with youth for over
eight years in Tribal Schools, Hospitals, Home-
less Shelters, Non Profit Organizations, Juvenile
Detention Centers, Indian Child Welfare programs,
Treatment Centers, Cultural Enrichment pro-
grams, and Youth Safety Shelters. She currently
works with American Indian youth as a Mental
Shaleena teaches aerobics through an Indian College. Her counseling
approach incorporates nutrition, lifestyle changes, and the importance
of exercise in working toward holistic wellness.
Shaleena recognizes cultural connectedness as the largest safeguard
in making healthy decisions within American Indian populations, per
research in the field.
Personally, she is fervently connected to the culture of canoe pulling.
She has been racing canoes since 2006. She has also been involved in
the Canoe Journey since 2002 and has supervised youth on these
journeys as well. Shaleena served on the planning committee for the
Paddle To Lummi, 2007.
She is currently helping to organize the third annual Coast Salish
Day/Canoe Journey Day (to be held Saturday, July 18, 2009) in
collaboration with the City of Bellingham and Whatcom County as they
officially acknowledge the first inhabitants of this land.
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