Healing

The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation provides information about Residential Schools in Canada. Visit their site here to view an interactive map showing the locations of the hundreds of residential schools where First Nations children were separated from their families and communities. 

The NCTR also has compiled teaching resources for all ages here. 

Dawnland is a documentary about Maine's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and the difficult truth about how what is currently called the United States continues to tear Indigenous children away from their families. For hundreds of years, the U.S. has been practicing a policy of genocide toward Indigenous Peoples. As a result, many people are living with not just their own trauma but Intergenerational Trauma as well. 

We can begin the process of healing, yes, and we ought to — but we also need to realize that harm is still being done, and without understanding that truth there cannot be reconciliation.

In WILM, Daniel Heath Justice writes about Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission:

"Truth has been largely dropped from the discussion, at least on the part of Settler Canada — not surprisingly, given this country's longstanding commitment to historical amnesia when it comes to Indigenous issues,"

The U.S. settler-state is committed to a similar condition of historical amnesia. Worse, still, under this violent erasure of history lies the same framework that allows violence and injustice to continue today. If people realized that the Dakota Access Pipeline was just another genocidal project in a history that stretches back to the founding of the settler-colonial state they might see that so-called progress almost always equates with violence. 

With this history and present in mind, it is clear that healing requires truth. 

 

When it comes to healing, Indigenous Peoples and First Nations Peoples' know themselves and their communities best. In many cases, healing will come from within these communities and will center on community-based research and cultural revival. 

 

To learn more about community-based research, check out the Indigenous Research Wellness Institute. Their publications, such as "I'm stronger than I thought": Native women reconnecting to body, health, and place" provides insight into the ways Indigenous communities are healing — and the publications are available online.

 

Having a connection to ones' language, culture, and community is paramount for healing. Intergenerational and first-person trauma is difficult to process alone, and no one should have to feel alone while they heal. 

 

Tunchai Redvers, a co-founder of We Matter, a non-profit organization committed to Indigenous youth empowerment, talks about how we can build a world where Indigenous youth can live and succeed.

 

In Alicia Elliot's (@WordsandGuitar) essay, "A Mind Spread Out on the Ground" she writes, 

 

"Interestingly, the Centre for Suicide Prevention has found lower rates of depression and suicide among those communities that exhibit "cultural continuity." This includes self-government, land control, control over education and cultural activities, and command of police, fire, and health services."

 

So, the best thing non-Indigenous people can do to promote healing and move toward reconciliation is to return the land that was stolen, respect Indigenous and First Nations Peoples' Sovereignty, and respectfully listen to the stories they choose to share so that we can learn to do better.