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Michael Yellow Bird



Dr Yellow Bird is Dean and Professor of the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Manitoba. He is an enrolled member of the MHA Nation (Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara) in North Dakota, USA. He is a member of the International Mindfulness Teachers Association and is a certified mindfulness teacher, professional, and has been practicing mindfulness meditation and Indigenous contemplative practices for more than 47 years. He has held faculty appointments at the University of British Columbia, University of Kansas, Arizona State University, Humboldt State University, and North Dakota State University. His research focuses on the effects of colonization and methods of decolonization, healthy Indigenous peoples’ aging, Arikara ethnobotany and traditional agriculture, Indigenous mindfulness and neurodecolonization, and the cultural significance of Rez dogs.

He is the author of numerous scholarly articles and the co-editor of four books that include For Indigenous Eyes Only: The Decolonization Handbook, 2005 (revised in 2012); Indigenous Social Work around the World:Towards Culturally Relevant Education and Practice, 2008; and Decolonizing Social Work, 2013. His mindfulness and neurodecolonization work has been featured in several mind body and mindfulness podcasts, magazines, newspapers, and scholarly publications.

His professional/academic mindfulness and neurodecolonization website can be found at:

In 2021, his mindfulness teaching and work was featured in Mindful magazine along with three other Indigenous mindfulness teachers:

His most recent podcast interview with the Prison Mindfulness Institute discussing his work using Neurodecolonization with Indigenous Incarcerated youth can be found at:

Dr. Yellow Bird received his mindfulness training through the Prison Mindfulness Institute’s Path of Freedom program and the Engaged Mindfulness Institute’s “Engaged Mindfulness Teacher Training program,” which provides specialized training to professionals supporting individuals in at-risk situations and underserved communities. He is the creator of Siíŝu' tooxuun awi'ooxiik: A Mindfulness Curriculum for Arikara Tribal Youth. In 2023, he co-authored an online Mindful Decolonization training program for foster parents and Indigenous children which is intended to promote reconciliation, cultural safety, compassion, and resilience, between Indigenous children, parents, communities, and settler adoptive parents. He is working on a trauma-informed mindfulness curriculum for family survivors of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG). He serves on several national mindfulness and contemplative practices advisory boards, has served as a senior advisor and consultant to BIPOC mindfulness organizations, and is involved in creating a Centre for Mindful Decolonization and Reconciliation (CMDR) in the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Manitoba.


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