I am going to talk about healing and understanding historical trauma in our Native communities. This has always been such a hard topic to address in our communities, but it's one that i faced confronted and over came with in my self and my home. In my up bringing my father has been a strong stone in my life, he taught me about soberity and living a healthy life style. My father went to boarding school and then was forced to go fight for Americans in Vietnam, when America was still killing our Native people. I couldn't imagine is his pain and hurts. How he felt, about all this.
Our Native people have always been forced into this way of life. Whether it was wrong or not to the Wasicu, they did not see it as we did. Maybe they never will. But we as Native people have came so far into healing our spirits. Many Native people's lives were difficult, because they knew the truth, and that's what made them strong and stand up. Many knew that what happened to them was wrong, they knew that they couldn't carry on and continue to let their families get abused. My father was one of those people who stood up and broke that cycle of destruction. He held strong to the old ways, the traditional ways of healing. He went back to Unci Maka (Mother Earth) he cried and asked the spirit to help heal him. He faced that pain like the courageous warrior he still is today.
"The Wasicu have brought much pain" he would tell me. But are we so ignorant to keep carrying on for them? To keep hurting our selves. My father said " We have to stop this and the pain ends with you my daughter, no more he said, "your children will grow up to know a healthy home, and a loving mother, that teaches them that they have a away of life and that they can turn to that when in time of need instead alcohol, drugs or fighting each other, that they will know they are Lakota. And, that's something powerful, something nobody can ever take from you again," my father said.
Our Lakota's always knew we had to keep teaching this way of life. They (The wasicu) tried to kill it, meaning kill the Indian save the man. In 1934 they took our traditional way of practing our culture and forced in its place a foreign way of governing the people, our people had a hard time because they knew this was not our way, many of our elders from that era were influenced to walk the wrong path, many of their children came home from boarding schools broken souls, damaged from what the Wasicu's did to them. This is were the historical trauma Begin's in our homes. When i was growing up i had some what of an idea, what happened to our Nation. Well, i know now and it makes me fight harder to protect our spiritual ways for our children so they could use them to help themselves heal.
We need to teach these ways for the future generations to move forward without the hurt and pain, the time now has come that they have to move forward in good ways. The truth has to be taught, and addressed. That is how healing comes. If we keep sweeping things under the rug that's were it stays. We have to be open about historical trauma. Our ways teaches this, we have our ways, our way of life, it's something powerful. I think creator foreseen this coming, and he gave us the sacred pipe. To help us heal from this devastating Holocaust. Were are taught to understand what happened and how to heal myself from it. Healing i had to do on my own, i had to be brave. We have to have courage when facing these things cause they are so bad and painful. We often wonder why me, why our fathers, why our mothers, why our grandfathers, why our children? Why did this have to happen to us? How can i deal with this? Will we ever be able to fully address this historical trauma?
My uncle told us, that when he was in boarding school that the only thing that helped him through was praying to creator and holding strong to his ways. He said "when i left that place i never felt so free, that when i got into that train to head home i cried cause my mom and dad didn't know what happen to me, and how could i ever tell them what those horrible priests done to me, they took not only my way of life, my identity, they took my innocents as a child and introduced a dark life of pain. I went on with my life carrying that pain, taking it out on others and my children. I hit them like i was hit, i told them they were nothing like i was told, i was nothing, i hurt them like i was hurt. It was not until i went to treatment i finally was able to face myself. My uncles' eye's watered up and he cried and said how could i hurt my own children. I went back to the Lakota way after that, He said. My uncle's and fathers story is thousands of Native people stories.
This Holocaust was one of the most devastating in history and is still claim the lives of our Native people. What keeps me strong is our Lakol Wichol. I found healing in the inipi, the sweat lodge our way of life the ceremonies. I found healing in being a mother to my children the mother i never had, cause historical trauma and genocide took her, i found healing in loving myself, i found healing in being a healthy family, i found healing in being Lakota.
I have to really give some honor to my father, who was brave enough to stop or end the vicious cycle of destruction that troubles our Native nations, he had the courage to tell me about what he went through, and he used his fear and a positive tool, to help change history, and teach us to move forward but to heal our selves first.
When i went to treatment i seen that little lakota girl sitting alone in this dark place. A place were they have held us for way to long, a place that so many of us get lost in. I went to that little girl who was lost (ME) i reached out and grabbed her hand, i told her that i came back for her, that i will love her unconditionally, that i was sorry for allowing myself to keep hurting. I held this little girl and told her it was time to come with me to a better place. And i sang her a lakota healing song and took her hand. We walked into the light and i opened my eye's and was looking at myself in a mirror, i smiled and i told myself i would do what ever i could to help others go back for the spirits that were hurt and lost because of historical trauma, facing it head on is the only way at this point to heal from it, no more hiding it, no more secrets, it's time now we hold our Native way of life close, be brave and face it.
He Che Tu ye, Autumn Conroy Two Bulls
Waniyetu Was'te Win'