( – promoted by navajo)
When we talk about healing, as Native people or think about it. It can be over whelming at times. Because, we think as a whole Nation not as an individual. The healing process for a Nation is great work. We began to say where do we start? How do we Start? And Who do we start with? These are all to often common questions by people. If we go back into the traditional times of our ancestors, and think like they did with out all the obsticals. It’s a question that is answered. We start with the Children (Wakanyejan) and teaching them the values and way of life of the Lakota.
They are the key to survival of cultural ways, identity and Our Nations. That’s why the American Government targeted them and put them in boarding schools and took their identities from them. And today’s it’s the children who suffer the most because of historical trauma. When i go out into the communities i see so much richness of culture amongst the youth and children. Even if they don’t see it. Our spirit as Native peoples is in the children and youth. It is them who will carry on for us. As i was told when i was a little girl. “One day you will be a mother and you have to teach these Lakota ways to your children and grandchildren” my grandmother said.
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Growing up i would sit and listen to the elders and women speak of culture and values. The value systems of the Lakota is a way life i was told. That if i lived by the values and sacred ways my life would be good. The sacred ceremonies were a way to release and heal ourselves from life’s hardships and express our thanks for everything we were given as Humble Human beings of this Earth. Everything i was taught as a child became useful to me as an Adult and in my healing journey on the Red Road. But the most important is to be a mother. At the time of these teachings i didn’t know that it would construct my life into Balance and healing of my spirit from Historical trauma and Genocide.
Growing up in this modern way of the reservations was very tough and hard at times. Why, because of all the influences that we have to face on a daily basis. Coming from broken homes, single parents homes, or no parents at all, poverty, and many other hardships. Coming from abuse of all sorts. Abuse that our people were conditioned to commit on each other. The word that is known all to well in our Native communities (Oppression). Alcohol and drugs was something that we were use to seeing and hearing about on the reservation. It lingered at every corner of darkness as a youth and still does today.
Our youth have so much obsticals to over come to become healthy well-balanced people. Tradition is something that saved me from this negative way of life. It was the teaching that i was taught about how to heal my self to cope with this life we have to live. I have a 16 year old youth that i work with, he’s my nephew. He was involved with gangs, alcohol and drugs. I asked him the other day how he would feel when he woke up. When he was living like that and what could i do as his auntie to help him. This shocked me into tears, He said “Tuwin-Aunite just knowing you care and love me. That you don’t hate me, and you never judged me or put me down. My dad is gone and my mom doesn’t care she drinking herself to death. If i didn’t have you i wouldn’t have nothing. You helped me learn the Lakota way and showed me how to tend that sacred fire for the sweats. And you understand me, and take care of me when everyone turned there back’s on me. Because i was in a gang, was drinking and doing bad things. You showed me how to be a real man, and for that i thank you, you help me by just loving me auntie” he said.
There’s one of our 7 sacred laws that i do hold close to me is the Hunka ( Making of relatives). It was told that there would never be any orphans in our Nation. I seriously believe this with all my heart. No matter how tarnished the jewel is it can always be shined. That is how i feel about these youth and children. All they need is love and to know someone cares and honors them for just being alive. What i learned about the Lakota way of life i will always share with them after all it belongs to them too to all of us. And we are all worthy of it and deserve it.
It is them who will live after we are all gone, it is them who will carry on all the sacred ceremonies and values. We have to teach them. We may not all agree of what is the right way. But i say we have to give them their identities back. Show them how to light that sacred fire and heal their spirits. Support and love them in their healing journey. So one day they can teach others who were walking that wrong path. And show them the gift of the Lakota Way of life and that’s it’s beautiful.
He ce tu ye
Autumn Two Bulls