Susan G. Ramsey is Tlingit Indian/Alaskan Native. She is of the Naanyaa.aayi clan and lives in Wrangell, Alaska. As the great-grandaughter of Chief John Kadashan, and his wife who was Chief Shakes sister, Susan carries this matrilineal royal bloodline. This clan carries a song reaching back to the the ice age said to have been sung by the shaman as he came south looking for a place for his people to live. The place he found was Wrangell at the mouth of the Stikine River.
From there the Tlingits spread throughout south-east Alaska and western Canada. From the Naanyaa.aayi clan emerged Chief Shakes, a leader who protected all seven of the local clans in Wrangell of which Susan belongs to the Killer Whale tribe.
Much as the shaman guided his people to a new place, Susan’s dream is to assist her people to rediscover the place where they are healthy: live within their traditional ways without alcohol, drugs and healed from Transgenerational Traumatic Stress, facing life courageously as the Tlingit shaman did as he searched for a new place for his people.
Susan’s thesis The Psychotherapeutic Effects of American Indian Traditions: singing, drumming, dancing and storytelling fulfilled the requirement for a Masters degree from the University of Arizona in American Indian Studies. She sees her thesis as a personal path to healing through education, spirituality and valuing tribal culture.
In 2003, Susan with the help of other tribal people initiated the week long Healing Heart Ceremony held to provide healing and empowerment in dealing with the anguishing loss of four Tlingit women.
Susan’s interest in trauma stems from personal and cultural experiences of loss: early loss of life among her people, loss of dominion over tribal lands, loss of cultural pride, and loss of cultural value due to imposition of western values. This latter loss led to cultural grief and adapting destructive coping strategies that are devastating to tribal people everywhere, all the time, every day.