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
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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!

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 the 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 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.

Walking an hour

It is interesting the things you think as you walk alone for an hour. The sort of walking for fitness is quite different than walking as a method of transportation. The thoughts and ideals that move through vary.
Much of the time, I tend to reflect on the state of my life (read: time to be hard on Amy)
I could have made things easier on myself, but as my friend said last week…I had to chose the hard way.
Why bother taking the easy path when the difficult path is SO much more amenable to being hard on myself…if I took the easy way, when could I get the lashings?

I guess that’s why I do it…not even aware of what or why I make the choices I do.
Once I was aware of it, I thought of my mother and wondered what I would say to her. Needing her guidance. What would she say?
What came was a stern talking to. lol
It happened to be just what I needed, a good swift kick in the hind. Ask the tough questions, what are you doing? How did you get yourself here…and what are you going to do to get out of it? Are you just going to give up? Can you live with that? Can you just walk away? No? Well…
What are you going to do about it?

Believe in yourself, she said…cause you are the one that has to do it.
You’re the only one that matters, and all of those dreams…those wonderful ideas in your head? They are YOURS. YOU are the only one with the specific, knowledge that can make them happen. Only you can bring them to life.
Only you.
So YOU have to pick yourself up and decide what you are going to do.
Love you enough.
Be kind enough.


ARE enough.

recollections AKA pitiful humanity inspired

More and more I am finding myself confronted by many, many deep and meaningful teachings. Daily in my new life I find myself struggling to make meaning of the direction i have taken. Others call it Bravery. Others call me an inspiration. Living through the mess I’ve made of my life…I call it, simply pitiful. Not without irony…I sit here completely free from any obligation, (read: income, money, moulah) yet I find myself in the place of many of my ancestors before me. Indeed likely many of your ancestors before you…dear reader…
Surviving. Now I can recall what it means to live in the most abundant city in the world, the most abundant with land, and water and relatively clean air. Yet…I can take no part of it at the moment because I have no moulah.
It sits there before me like a delicacy and I like the lowly servant banned from the kitchen.
I am thankful for the roof over my head, for the food in my cupboards, for my own and the health of my family.
I am able to contribute. I am able-bodied, strong, responsible…yet, after taking care of others for so long. There are none nearby to care for me…and my son. I am all we have. Provider, protector, nurturer.
In a country so devoted to the welfare of its “people” we contribute an amount…yet still have to depend on the whims of others for sustinance. A dependency.
I await the great benefit of a working contribution yet i have heard the enitity does not WISH to pay out. It is double-fold because I loathed to have to RECEIVE. Imagine that. Imagine the great karma going on here. The GIVING is stunted, and the openness to RECEIVING is also stunted.
No wonder our two people have so much painful history, so much work to be done.
I don’t want to have to rely on government to help me to live. I would love to be self-sustaining, self-empowered, self-governing, independent of government. But all of those values are the very ideals that makes our people terrorists, criminals and thieves. It will take time, to be independent.
I do not wish to hurt anyone. I have no grand ideals to take over, convert, change anyone who does not wish it.
I just want to live peacefully with my son, enjoying the bounty of Mother Earth, to be able to grow food and eat it. To be able to practice my culture, to teach.

I don’t need fame, or fortune. To want and cultivate these things…I call to myself a whole host of others wanting what I have…who would do anything to get it…no matter what. What motivation. Though what are the implications of that karmic footprint.
Today I prayed. In a pitiful state. Unable to grow my own food. All around me I see the delights of others, independently caring for their families. There are many beliefs I need to let go of. I have the impression from some who do what is necessary to continue…regardless of government. Who abide. Yet, I feel some judgement when we are scrutinized. Why can’t you just let it go? Is the silent question…so apparent that you can taste it.
My understanding? It is difficult for honest, principled people to understand how one can build an entire country based on a notion of freedom and equality yet who cannot reasonably accept and acknowledge the methods by which the land was acquired and the wealth acquired.
Movies spout that wealth and nobility was snatched. Yet, is that a good ideal? To teach fundamentally if you want something bad enough, just take it. Even if it belongs to someone else.
I find myself struggling a bit.
Yet, I am mindful of where I want to put my energies. I want to put my energies into an area i love. Anything related to writing, books, publishing, editing, even printing.
I also have to let go of the prideful barriers that prevent me from looking for grants and to receiving from and benefiting from the generosity of others.
I need to change that perception of pitiful dependence to one of interdependence. One may have wealth but creativity may be stunted. My dream is that all creativity be released and encouraged. That I may be the vehicle to inspire interdependence, self-determination, self-governance through love. I may need support, assistance, and to hand the role of provider over for a spell…but what comes after may be much more valuable in the long run…to teach others how to think for themselves, independence from dependency. Inspire me…oh pitiful humanity. Inspire me, oh pitiful self. Inspire me oh raging lioness pride. Inspire me…


Follow up to “Posting on the Fly”

So, I’m following up on a note to post what I’ve been working on…see photo posted here :)
Working like a mad woman, I finally had a chance to complete my son’s regalia.
Note the terminology. This is NOT a “costume”. As many others before me have said: Costumes are things that you wear to become something you are NOT.
Regalia is made to identify who you ARE, and where you come from.

Respresentations often include (but are NOT limited to or exclusive):
Clan (governance system, or community responsibility)
Spirit name (life purpose, focus, gifts)
Spirit helpers (animals, etc)
Colours (Clan colours, spirit name)
Nation – sometimes denoted by style (beadwork etc)
In point of fact, for myself the everyday clothing I wear is a “costume” something I use to “fit in” to contemporary Canadian culture. Though I have heeded advice from others to incorporate and wear my colours. Still working away on my own regalia, a labour of love :)
Will post photos as I finish.

Thinking too much

I have been reflecting this past day, on the many different people who have passed through my life, the many different teachings left in their wake.

I spent a day in creativity. Moments passed.

What I have learned today is this idea of “thinking too much”
It is entirely possible, and at the same time nearly impossible. People need to endure the things they endure. It is in the endurance that learning happens. Teachings are lived. I finally accepted an idea I had been fighting for quite awhile. It is interesting to see how many beliefs and hang ups we have about beliefs that we truly have.

Today, the day was about creativity.
It was fun. It still is fun. I sit in this random coffee shop doing what I love, dedicated to my craft and I continue to chase the waves where ever freely they roam.

Today was about spending time doing something fun, exploring a new creative path and getting ready for another one. I was always envious of those who had time to create, who had so much time on their hands.
The beautious items nearly create themselves.
In the midst of creation the memories pour forth, though an intention that is as clear as the morning rays of Grandfather’s smiling face over the horizon…drive the completion with love and devotion.
Thinking happens as creation does, yet it does not ge in the way. Often these things do…these thoughts and attachments. Allow them a safe space to ruminate, dream, elaborate. Give them space and let them gp.
It is only a thought.
A moment.
It will not last forever, unless you cannot let go.
Find that thing, that thread that keeps it surfacing. Find the root, the attachment, the fear and face it. Let it go and feel the light lift you like a balloon filled with helium.
Lighter than air you are carried forward into your creative.
Into the moment.