I am the chairwoman of the Healing The Circle in Our Communities Symposium. It brought me so much joy for this symposium to take place. The idea for this event came from a series of deep conversations I had with my sister. We always talked about the many problems in our community that we were just tired of seeing and hearing, like violence, drug and alcohol abuse, and the traumas that were never tended to. Then there came a day that we finally got tired of talking about it and we wanted to DO something about it. “But what?,” we thought. My sister had just finished organizing the first ever Domestic Violence Awareness Walk on our home rez all by herself and it was so successful! A record amount of community members showed up and walked in support. It was afterwards that the idea came to me, what I felt we needed was a space for healing. I envisioned a safe space that would be lead by survivors, advocates, and those at the forefront of uplifting mental and spiritual health in our native communities. I approached the Native Learning Center and asked if we could make this happen. From there, we were a team with a vision looking for a way to execute it. After countless meetings, late night emails, and getting everyone on the same page, the healing symposium was no longer a vision, but a reality. I am so proud of this event. I am proud of my team. I am proud of the attendees and presenters and I am proud of myself. For the first time ever done, a symposium of this type was held at a local level. We successfully planned and organized a 3-day symposium covering topics such as domestic violence, elder abuse, self love and care, healthy relationships, MMIWG, men and women empowerment, with the overall goal of promoting healing and safe and healthy environments for our communities. We featured two full days of all Indigenous presenters, an all male panel called “The Hidden Voice,” and a smudge ceremony lead by respected leader Wilson Wewa. With a total of 152 attendees throughout the 3 days, 39 walk ins, and 16 states represented, I deem our inaugural symposium a success!! Shonaabesha/mvto/thank you to all the attendees, to the presenters, and to my team!
Many of our communities all across Indian Country are affected by the same issues, like historical trauma and domestic violence, and are in need of healing. It is important that we spark these conversations and empower ourselves and our youth. We can all be cycle breakers, we can create healthier environments for the future of our people, but to do that we mustlearn and understand how to get ourselves on a path of healing. A path of healing that is lead by health; physical health, mental health, and spiritual health. We have to protect our women and men and help them heal from the pain that has been passed on from generation to generation. Our people can be empowered through healing.