David Edward Walker is the author of Coyote’s Swing: A Memoir and Critique of Mental Hygiene in Native America, which was published in February by Washington State University Press.
A psychologist, novelist, public speaker, poet, and singer-songwriter, Walker is a Missouri Cherokee descendent. For more than three decades he’s worked as a professor, psychotherapist, and consultant based in Washington State — including four years as a psychologist for the U.S. Indian Health Service (IHS) and, afterward, more than 20 consulting for the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation.
In much of his writing, including Coyote’s Swing, he addresses the devastating impact of the Western, biomedical mental health system on Indigenous peoples — and their experiences, across the centuries, of intergenerational oppression and trauma both personal and systemic. Five years ago, Walker wrote a series of articles for Indian Country Today that zeroed in on such oppressive practices, including the harms of psychiatric treatment on Native individuals and the history of labeling Native children with “feeblemindedness” and, later, ADHD.
He holds a doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Detroit.
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