Serena’s Story: Isolation, Dedication & Holding Identity

Surrey Place | AIDE Canada
Listen to the second episode of the Storytelling Video Series for the Bi pi maadzing zaagidwin teg jichaaming / Circle of Life in the Spirit of Love project. Developed by Surrey Place, the series reflects voices and perspectives from Indigenous caregivers and individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities living in Northwestern Ontario. Our second episode features Serena, an Inuk mother living in Winnipeg, Manitoba, who discusses her adult son's diagnosis of autism. His chronic health issues have impact Serena’s ability to live on her traditional land. Serena shares her disconnection with her Indigenous identity as she navigates motherhood in the South and builds her career as a social worker. Ultimately, with resilience and up against generational trauma, Serena celebrates her reconnection with her traditional ways.


00:40 – Part 1: Introduction

03:18 – Part 2: Parenting in Isolation

08:07 – Part 3: Anchored by Autism

12:10 – Part 4: Cloaking Tradition

18:09 – Part 5: Growing Older

21:52 – Part 6: Reconnection

Content Warning

The content covered throughout this video includes, discussion of colonial violence, trauma, adverse childhood experiences and mental health challenges. The material may be triggering for some audiences, so viewer discretion is advised. If you need additional support after viewing this video, please seek help from your colleagues, Elders, or counsellors as needed. A list of resources is also highlighted below.

Here are a few tips for self-care during this video.

  • When needed, take time to step away and get grounded (take some deep breaths, get a glass of water, and bring your attention to your body and your immediate environment).
  • Explore the content at your own pace!
  • Reflect on and process your thoughts in a journal or discuss with a trusted friend or colleague.
  • If you find something challenging or need support, reach out to someone you trust, or explore the resources listed below:

About Surrey Place

Surrey Place provides specialized clinical services that are responsive to individual’s needs and promote health and well-being in the Toronto region.

We help children and adults living with developmental disabilities, autism spectrum disorder, fetal alcohol syndrome and visual impairments reach their full potential. We offer a variety of groups and workshops for clients, families and caregivers, as well as extensive education and consultation services to community agencies.

About the MMW Program

The Mashkikiiwininiwag Mazinaatesijigan Wichiiwewin (MMW) Clinical Videoconferencing Program offers clinical services using videoconferencing technology to adults with diagnosed or suspected intellectual and developmental disabilities in Northwestern Ontario. Since 2005, our team has collaborated with Northern community partners, including Sioux Lookout First Nation Health Authority and Community Living Dryden Sioux Lookout, to ensure quality and cultural responsiveness during service delivery.

For more information about the MMW Program connect with us:


Contact our Intake Line

416-925-5141 ext 2845 or 1-833-999-9669

Email us at mmw.services@surreyplace.ca


Images courtesy of Serena, otherwise photography by Peter Prokosch (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

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