Gayle Skawen:nio Morse Recognized for Advancing Indigenous Values through Professionalism and Service

Gayle Skawennio Morse

The American Psychological Association’s Society for the Psychology of Women has named Gayle Skawen:nio Morse, Ph.D., as the 2020 recipient of the society’s Sweetgrass Award. The Sweetgrass Award honors a psychology professional who advances indigenous values through outstanding professionalism and service.

Morse’s work in education, research and clinical practice highlights the connections between mental health, community health and environmental stewardship.

As a professor of Counseling and Community Psychology and director of the graduate Psychology programs at Russell Sage College, Morse emphasizes cultural competency and cultural humility in the professional skills classes she teaches and in her work with graduate students during their internships and thesis projects.

She frequently speaks and writes about ethics, social justice, women’s issues, student learning and the neuropsychological effects of environmental toxins. Her recent scholarship includes an article about psychoanalytic and indigenous understandings of dreams in “Black, Indigenous, Women of Color Talk Back: Decentering Normative Psychoanalysis,” a special edition of the journal Studies in Gender and Sexuality published in June 2020, and “A Detoxification Intervention for Gulf War Illness: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial,” coauthored by Morse, in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health in October 2019.

Morse is a New York state licensed psychologist with a private practice. She is an enrolled member of the Mohawk tribe and former president of the Society of Indian Psychologists, which represents indigenous psychologists in the United States and Canada.

“My Kanienkehaka (Mohawk) background has given me the foundation to do the work that I love,” said Morse. “The Kanienkehaka principles of Skennen, Kariwiio and Kasastensera — or peace, good mind and strength — are achieved by respecting the environment and people, and are what fuel my efforts.”

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