First Nation issues, Historical Trauma and Self-empowerment strategies

A creative space to share what I am learning on my healing journey

Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it. - Buddha
  • ET3


Permissions and use of EarthTALKER intellectual property

I have been mulling over the posting of a “author permission clause” or “use of work” clause since this is an area of my life that is very new. While it may be quite late to post as I am in my second year of blogging, I’ve decided a good opportunity to share teachings related to “sources”

While our communities originally passed our culture on through oral teachings and sharing, I have heard that we ALWAYS acknowledge our sources.
Times have changed. People, however have not. Some still take teachings and incorporate them as their own without acknowledging sources.
Despite the changes, our teachings still persist. Respect. Integrity. Sharing.
Respect the work:
A lot of what is written in the accompanying pages was gained through hundreds (perhaps thousands) of hours in consultation with Elders, friends, in ceremony, meditation and stillness. I share it freely because it may help someone else.
If it is useful to you – GREAT!
Take what you need and leave the rest. Another Elder wisdom :)

It would be great if you would link back to EarthTALKER or quote as “Amy Desjarlais – of EarthTALKER but you don’t have to…your integrity is your own, your karma is your own. Generally, if I have found something useful, I try to support the original source, it’s respectful to the WISDOM, to the individual who shared it, and to the people or community that supports that individual.

If I share a wisdom and generally mention “the Elders” it’s because many people from many different instances share the same notion, not always in the same way but the sentiment is similar.
If a teaching is specific to that Elder and I haven’t heard it somewhere else, I would try quote the Elder specifically, or by place, event, community.
If I learned something through video, audio, website, etc. I also try to link back and mention where I received the inspiration, or source. Sometimes we come across people who came up with similar thoughts, if you find something you’ve written that is similar, let me know and we can also link up. I’d love to share or circulate your messages and teachings too, if you are open to doing so!

Appropriation, Acculturation, Assimilation and Sharing are not synonymous. Use of the words found here and incorporation of these teachings in your life does not entitle you to self-identify as Indigenous, qualify you as “bi-cultural”, or multi-cultural, an Elder, Indian, Native, First Nations or traditional healer. Unless of course, your community has recognized you as such. That being said, we are all on a journey, I appreciate your stopping by.

Sharing these teachings is not a means of “vetting” anyone, or as a conclusive healing program or therapy.
If you are experiencing troubling issues in your life, I urge you to seek an Elder from your area or local therapist in your life who can help you regain balance, and get back on the path.
A work in progress these terms may change slightly from time to time. Always a good idea to send me a note if you aren’t sure about something.
– Miigwetch, and good journey!

Don’t be so hard on yourself

Rumination. A deadly thing for the love addicted. Something I’ve only noticed this week. A sick, delusional belief I’ve carried, likely a result of watching my parents play out their own delusional relationship fantasies.
Love. Beyond all limits. Devotion. Even if it kills. Until this week I believed I cared about someone who not only was a terrible choice for me but whom I chose to walk away from. I believed in my own way that I was not good enough. I had convinced myself that I did not know what I wanted out of the relationship…Except, when I looked deeper, I realized that I knew exactly what I wanted. I was just too afraid of hurting someone else in the process. I knew that getting what I wanted meant hurting someone else. While I did what was necessary, I ended up dragging myself through the mud. Convinced I had thrown away the best thing that had ever happened to me…except…it was a terrible experience. I wasn’t allowed to be myself. I couldn’t speak my mind freely. I was not respected, supported or made to feel important at all, yet…I cared deeply for such a person.
I believe this individual was an important teacher. This experience an important one. I chose differently. I knew somewhere deep inside that this was not what I wanted. I saw myself changing, becoming disempowered and I got out. What happened to me in this learning is that I carried the guilt, I heaped it on. Believing in my heart that I was at fault. Well…I looked that belief in straight in the eye and i said NO.
I WILL not believe I wrecked this. I am a kind hearted, good person who was forced to be tough in order to protect myself. I only realized it because I’ve had to do a lot of standing up to people who cannot see outside of their own pain and hurt. My teachers say that sometimes we are forced to be tough, when we have to be…when we are pushed. It feels strange because we are, at our essence kind people. I don’t like having to be “mean” or “tough” but sometimes we have to be in order to stop someone from walking over us.
I want to be kind. I want to be happy and content. The people around me should highlight those qualities in me, not the opposite. If there is someone in my life that does not bring those qualities out, perhaps that relationship needs to be examined. I noticed I was not enforcing my boundaries.
I’m better at doing so after such an experience.
In fact I’m getting so good at it, sometimes I feel a bit like a jerk. I can’t stand some of the things peoples say to one another, and I seem to have less tolerance for s**t.
Maybe I’m just living into my own. It’s good, it means I’m beginning to be authenic, instead of pretending things are all right when they are not.
I’ve learned so many valuable things this week. Today, I feel abundance like none other. It means freedom from letting go, and I envisioned my most favorite things coming to fruition. Directed that abundance back to my life. I’ve wasted enough time on people that don’t matter. It’s time for me now. Time to grow my life into the kind of life i can be proud of. It’s beautiful you know? When you finally learn how to direct wasted energy? When you learn how to plug up the holes that drain your precious abundance. Put it into something you care about.
Life is too short to berate yourself, to feel guilty or bad about stuff. Just stop. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Learn from your mistakes, stand up to the bullies in your life, face the fear and learn to live…one step at a time.
You know what? It feels good. Getting out from the shadows. Today is a good day.
This moment right here, is exactly what I need and I am exactly where I am meant to be, knowing fully that I deserve the best. Understanding that I deserve NO less than the best. Yeah, it’s cool. Finally knowing what that means. Knowing that I will not allow anyone to treat me badly ever again. They won’t get that chance, cause I love me more than that. It feels good to stand on these two feet. I know that I won’t be responsible for anyone elses guilt or shame or pain any more. I deserve better than that…and I give away all that is not mine to carry. I welcome love, light and peace. Little by little I learn to be good to myself.
I continue to be a work in progress, there are many things to work on, but I’m gonna love every single bit of me as long as I live. Acceptance, Caring and in kindness. I chose the path of happiness and contentment because I can.

Let’s talk re-visited

I want to do something…to help. Anything. I hate that every week it seems, someone else goes missing.
What would you do if someone you knew and loved didn’t come home? What if people you knew were missing someone too? What if you asked for help, ask people to care and they didn’t?
Well, those things are going on, every day. Epidemic levels, of women going missing. Children losing their mothers.
And what is the response? Indifference. In some cases, anger, sadness, outrage, and sometimes…FEAR.
Face it, we are the remnant society of a country born out of colonialism. Imperialism. Power and Control.
Out of every winner…”conquerers” there are losers…we are not conquered. Indigenous Nations are here to stay. Our principles of allowing others to make their own mistakes sometimes bring our own bitter ends.
What do you do if instead of controling ones behaviour you let them make their own mistakes?
I don’t know. As an Indigenous woman in Canada, my lineage is born out of control, forced and learned dependence, fear-based love, physical, emotional and mental abuse.
What do we know of empowerment?
What DON’T we know?
Every day we wake and can be grateful for the teachings of our ancestors, every day we wake and see the pain as a lesson…that WE chose.
Every day we wake and take responsibility for our own actions…how we teach our children to be responsible for their OWN actions…THESE are the traits born of RESILIENCY.
These are traits born out of people who hold ALL life sacred.
Who hold water as the sacred life giving entity.
How do we empower ourselves? That is our discussion these days. How do we give ourselves permission to leave that reservation of our minds.
How do we accept ourselves as sacred human beings. We need others to see us and acknowledge…
Too see us and hear us and respond with honesty wrapped in kindness. Kindness….
Twitter #MMIW Sept 14: Self-empowerment

True Friendship

I am truly amazed most days at the gifts I encounter each day. While these days my faith has been stretched to its very limits and then some…an angel comes along to lighten the load.
I read today on my twitterfeed that being grateful for three things everyday for 21days will rewire your brain (follow @fact) I would like a reboot :) So I am starting my 21 days today. I am grateful for true friendship, for a gracious lady who bought me and my mukoons (little bear) supper today. I am grateful for one of my very best friends for his visit today and buying me my morning coffee. I am grateful to be able to attend an ancient women’s ceremony and pray for the water, our sacred Nibi with International guests from El Salvador, Colombia, Africa, India, Mexico and our own Grassy Narrows.
May our prayers continue, and the friendships established this week continue to flourish.

It is powerful when you can see the Great Kind Mystery working through the everyday people you encounter. Helping to renew your faith in life. In people and in yourself…just when you wonder what gifts you have to offer community. What do you have that they would want…and answers come…from the most unexpected places. And I am so filled with something so inexplicable. Abundance.

I have been praying so hard lately, so often…conscious to constantly be thankful and grateful for each and every day. For the openness to see nothing but beauty and love in everything and everyone around me. To understand that we are all light.

There is struggle. There is ignorance but even in that, there is love. This harvest moon, we thank those beings that continue to sustain us through the year. We prepare for the quiet season and we reflect on the bright beautiful and plentiful growing season. Thankful for the life giving Nibi/water, and we are grateful for true friendship.

Chi miigwetch, chi miigwetch, chi miigwetch, chi miigwetch!

Let’s talk

Ok so I’m hosting my first LIVE twitter discussion tonight, asking other Indigenous women “What do they need in order to feel safe in their communities”
Over 1100+ Indigenous Women have gone missing or are murdered in Canada. Despite calls from community, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has repeatedly refused to hold an inquiry into this issue saying instead that these are crimes for the police to handle.

On the other hand women like myself (single mothers) wonder if I’m safe out there on the streets of this country. I tend to wonder if I and my families are on our own, in our bid to keep ourselves out of harms way. One of the most frequently cited complaint from Indigenous communities is that the authorities and mainstream to “blame the victim”.

Well, ok. If the onus is on us, let’s discuss some strategies to keep our women safe. Tune in to twitter tonight between 7-8pm to participate in our discussion.
Some warm up questions:
With the amount of public outcry for an inquiry and none being actioned on, as an Indigenous woman, do you feel safe going about your day?
What are some strategies or precautions that our families can take to keep members safe.
How do you talk to your children about MMIW (Missing and murdered Aboriginal women?)
Let’s talk.


Relevant links and info:

How do we…

Something that has been apparent to me on this healing journey is this concept of “lead by example”.
One question is most always asked after an Indigenous issue is raised in the mainstream news. Why can’t they just get over it?
I imagine the people who say this have little to no experience with genocide, being persecuted to near extinction, and being told directly and indirectly “you are not good enough, you have to be more like us” finally and this is my favorite; anything that is good and right about your nationhood/identity that helps you to feel good about yourself is inaccessible through family history, lineage or Elders because it was demonized.
It is likely that the individuals saying these words have had a fairly uneventful childhood, grew up with both parents in the home, and had access to fair and affordable education.
I find many community members opt to marry or find partners from other nations simply because we are not related to them and there is more chance of said individual being “healthy”.
When a child grows up, behaviour is taught through demonstrating and leading by example. Abusive parents teach the children abuse is the norm and the children learn that. Sometimes there are excuses used to justify the behaviour but ultimately once the child grows to adulthood one would assume they begin to assert their own choices. If that person wants to live a different lifestyle.
Having to lead by example when the patterns are unlike anything you know takes a great deal of dedication. First, to realize there are problems, second to research the different ways to do things, third to practice behaving differently.
Each stage, depending on the learning may take and entire lifecycle to complete.
It’s not a matter of just “getting over” something.
Its not like someone knocked over my coffee or anything. It’s the fact that I have to learn how to be an entirely different person.
So if you read something related to Indigenous issues…please keep in mind. 600 years of forced colonization altered the essence of the Indigenous spirit. It’s going to take awhile to “just get over it” and hearing others complain like this doesn’t help.
instead, asking “What can we do to help” might be a step forward. Maybe asking yourself Why does this annoy me. and turning that frustration inward may help to solve some of the issues we have in communication with one another.
But thats just an opinion. Not like you actually have to listen, just like I don’t have to listen to those requests to “just get over it”.

Dream big

I had a revelation today. I’ve been working through some “interesting” news I received lately. Sitting here smiling at the astoundingly freeing turn of events, I am truly amazed at the wisdom of Creator’s plan. I am overcome with abundance, to sheer joy. Finally, I am free.
I have been waiting. Watching my life passby. Learning the error in judgement I’ve made and understanding what to do next time. I waited too long. Better to understand and be able to move on than jump too quickly and end up in regret.
The great thing of it is that I know that I’ve made the right decisions for me all along. I was just too afraid to admit it, because if I admitted it I would have to acknowledge that I’d hurt someone else’s feelings.
I’ve always been so kind. Going through this experience made me understand I have always shrunk from my greatness. I have always hidden my light. I could never shine because I might outshine those around me…and may I rue the day.
Well no more, and not this lady. I’m done shirking the spotlight. I’m done believing I lost out or That I am less than or undeserving.
I continue proving to myself that I am worth the love of creation and I continue to make decisions that are in the best interests of me and my family.
I will not feel sorry for myself. EVER. AGAIN.

It is such a beautiful revelation. I see how beautiful my love manifests. I put someone before me and wished the best, continuously sending loving joy and wishing the best. Happiness ensues. I see the success of manifestation and now that my energy can be redirected…all of my biggest dreams will come true.

There are so many songs, pieces of art, projects and ideas waiting for my love. Waiting for my loving attention. Focusing too much of my time and attention on anything else would be detrimental to my own beautiful dreams. I see that so clearly now. It’s like time was suspended. In a holding pattern. I feel such freedom!

I am ecstatic! I am so thankful for Creation’s loving guidance. For continuing to take care of us. I move freely toward my greatest dreams and I will achieve them.
With my Southern Grandmother’s firm insistence and reminders I re-assert myself and position the building blocks that will help me manifest an amazing adventure, outrageous projects and big beautiful shifts in the energies around me.
I WILL my creations into life and I invite you all to witness the powet of faith, hope and love. Come with me, be inspired along and prepare to amaze yourselves at the sheer joy emanating from you.
See this beautiful day and manifest such beauty it will dazzle!


ahhh dear readers…miigwetch for hanging in with me! Yet another dip into the unknown sinking, insoluable, inconstant, that is life.
The storm has finally broken and I have new found perspective. Isolation is not helpful in the quest for balance. Writer Tip #1: Stay connected with friends with a good perspective and willingness to give a hand up.
Lots of love to my drum sister for lifting me back up with your beautiful gentle heart.
I have a tendency to dwell and revel in the bog of my own egoic sludge. Not even realizing how skewed that insecure and fearful being is, and how stealthy she is at creeping in and taking over the controls. How easily I let her drive.
I attended a mindfulness talk recently and the one thing that stood out for me, is one of the obstacles to mindfulness and discipline, is LAZINESS.
I appreciated this frank and gentle reminder. It is something my southern grandmother reminded me of…Pick yourself up even when you don’t feel like it…find the willingness somewhere inside. Combat the laziness. Anyone can be lazy. Anyone can avoid the work.
We make excuses, reward ourselves with things that are not good for us (junk food) and tell ourselves that exercise is work.
I had a thought one night recently about how hard the lives of our ancestors were. A hunting life. If you did not work your butt off, and FIND that prey…your family STARVES. Your community suffers. Little by little, our subsistence lives were made “easier” but was life made easier??? At what cost?
Where is the discipline now? Where is the incentive? How do we find the will to RISE.
RISE. The will is inside. Sometimes that flame weakens and nearly dies, but have the will to know when to ask for help. Trust that someone will help fan your fire and life you up.
That is the essence of humanity. Help one another.
Care about one another. Fan the flame of another and lift them.
I realized this week that I haven’t explored the lives of those closest to me. I’ve taken for granted that I know them, but I don’t. I think about how lonely I am, and wonder why no one visits but I don’t necessarily visit them either.
It is a good reminder that I need to pay attention too.
I have looked for the help that is out there, but ultimately it is my own flame that I need to maintain. Balance. Discipline. I need to remind that inner lazy bones that I’m worth the effort to get up to RISE and do what needs to be done.
I am a sacred instrument of creation. How will I do the sacred and important work I am call up to do if I don’t take care of the vessel. If I let fear rule. If i don’t ask the questions. If I don’t venture anything.
How will I RISE if I’m always laying on the ground.
So RiSE my relative, rise and remember your sacred journey, only you can…

A good hard look

Emotional rollercoasters sometimes whip us off into a vertical climb and equally daring fall as fast as we can blink. I’ve confronted a lifetime of different and “wrong” choices. Ideas that people only like me as long as I contribute. People only like me because of my work and still even, I have nothing to offer anyone, especially a partner if I cannot even provide. I have been confronting a humiliating notion that people must think me the most stuck up b€|*€# for not caring to stay in touch.
Yes dearest readers, I am enduring the most vile and hurtful thoughts I can throw at myself. We all do it. Much of the time we don’t even know it. I sat with myself today and just let the pain out. I can withstand a lot of s&&t but today, I needed release. A tidal wave of regret, sadness, lost loves, second chances, wistfulness, rage, hurt, pain, and confusion tumbled forward.
I sat with a kind woman the other day whose gentle reminders helped me to remember who I am.
Now, if only I knew my place, my path moving forward. I learned that often I’m not certain to be free with offering of myself, my time, my energy, my love. I have deep and long held beliefs about a community entity I know nothing about. If i’ve ever given the impression that I’m better than, or superior to…my humblest apologies. If I have said nothing when you see me out and about, it isn’t because I didn’t care…I do, I am listening…
deeply…for truth.
Yes, I am intense. I will not apologize for being so.
I will not apologize for thinking too deeply or over-analyzing the situation because it is just who I am. I see into you.
I see through you. I know you, and I love you with every fibre of my being.
I have been looking into the mirror of my life and repeating over and over the love and acceptance I so desparately want…whispered and nearly received. Nearly believed.
It doesn’t come from having an amazing job. It doesn’t come from being supermom. It doesn’t come from being the knowledgable teacher, it doesn’t come from out there.
It is already inside. It is already you, exactly as you are…whether you are without, in the lowest low, on the brink.
Greatest love is in you. All you need to do is let it shine. So, very, bright.
Remove all that prevents you from shining…beautiful jewel.
If I keep telling myself, eventualy i will live into it.
Crawl, claw, hack your way out of the past. Crawl out of the old skin and give yourself the permission to be who you truly are…let yourself let it go.
Be not afraid. Dearest, be not afraid love.

Believe in yourself, your self worth will shine

I just found out an application I thought I put in, did not go through…hasn’t even STARTED yet. Thus Financial hardship continues. As I have continued on this journey through a path called THE HARD WAY, I am confronted by how many attachments I have to my employability. I am surprised to find myself feeling extremely insecure about myself BECAUSE I am not working. It is interesting that I feel very little self worth simply because of my income. Yes it’s true livelihood and my ability to provide are affected but this shouldn’t reflect on mySELF. It just goes to show how close the valuation of self-worth and money are tied. It’s a sad commentary on our society. Shouldn’t we be raising our children to value their self worth regardless of money? Yet our messages are such that you are ONLY somebody if you get out there and contribute to society READ: Make money and don’t drag us down with you.
I have not changed. My lifestyle, my thoughts and perceptions, my personality all remain the same, yet because of my job status I feel worthless. Isn’t that interesting? How many others feel worthless because of an external attachment?
The thought patterns much change, the attachment to the belief that “I am only valued if I am employed by societal standards” must be severed. I must have complete faith in myself regardless of my employment status.
I must believe in myself completely.

Just prior to writing this post, I had a sudden thought. I wanted to prove to myself that I CAN provide for my family through the Arts, specifically through my love of WRITING of self-expression. I want my fears of living my truth to be laid to rest. After all, I put off my love way back in highschool because I held the belief that I would be that STARVING ARTIST. My “sensibilitites” took over and I opted for a “job”. I was too afraid to follow my heart.
It is not without some irony that I find the paying gigs few and far in-between nowadays and I wonder where my next paying gig will come from. BUT fear not!
I trust in Creator to provide. I trust in spirit to guide me forward. I had a note from the Universe…literally. The message? “The Universe may open the door, YOU have to take the first step.”
It’s like that line in Ever After where Davinci says, “Fate has a lot to do boy! Sometimes you must give her a hand!”
Well, now…I must do my part to begin the dance. To create relationships.
I must take that first step and believe I have something inside worth sharing…

The way forward

Some much needed guidance was received this week. Thanks to a great friend for trusting in my abilities I’ve managed to sort out the junk and reveal my inner editor.
A much needed step to help me gain clarity and move forward on my writing project. According to my notes this project has been in the works since before my son was born. Over ten years in the making. I feel relief at having some semblance of a plan. A way forward. I have given myself a deadline. It will be finished this fall. My first work, complete. I desire it. I will love it into creation.
While it is important for me to give back to community, I am having trouble receiving direction from that area. Perhaps volunteer women’s circles and one-to-one sessions. But where? and who would want direction from me? lol
Just put it out there and see what happens…go where I’m requested to go, where I’m needed.

It’s been lonely the last little while, I was quite closed off before, in my last job now that I am completely out of community it is that much more lonesome. More disconnected. Well…just reach out there I guess. Volunteer.
Survival. Seems like are tandem strings pulling me in different directions. I have time now except I need to care for myself and my son. I need to ensure we have enough. With that, I have to make careful choices.
It is an interesting place to be.
I appreciate all of the teachings even if they are because i chose the hard way. One of my helpers was looking out for me though and i received gifts from them this week which will help my family survive.
I am also processing some beautiful teachings from a southern grandmother, she speaks to me still. It is with her help and encouragement that I have the courage to see this project through.
I went to look up grants yesterday…for written, music and art works. Project funding. There are so many ideas inside, that I’d need a solid plan, a prioritization. Which ones do I work on now. Which ones do I think i can write good grant proposals for?
I am thankful to those who chose to read when you can. I am thankful to those who have chosen to follow my blog, who read these words. I am thankful because it seems that I have something to say that is of some value to another and I am truly grateful for the opportunity to be shown this…chi miigwetch.
I have chosen the rocky path. I am taking my lumps. One day, I will learn how to see the smooth path I hope.
I am the only one that will be able to see it when the time comes. I guess i need to listen to my helpers next time they tell me to save money! haha
I love my life. I am grateful for every single moment. I am grateful to write and sing and laugh and cry.
I am thankful to Creator for this day, for this moment.