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!

Harvest time, you reap what you sow…

I facilitated a workshop on Harvest teachings last week. It was wonderful to see the beautiful circle of women sharing together. Some of the things I like to do at this time is to reflect on the year. How have I changed this year? What new learning have I picked up. Fall Equinox, a change of seasons.

This year, more than any other I am witnessing a shift. Individuals being vocal about EVERYTHING from #MMIW Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, to people hogging bus seats. In this day in age where technology allows us to document every single thought and share it with the world…many unfiltered thoughts are getting sent around the world.

I have never been one for vocalizing the many annoyances but this year, I’ve noticed things have changed. I am clearer about certain things, certain boundaries. And I am loving it. I’m being true to me.

While I will not go into all of the changes, suffice it to say I’m in a new place. I used to create memory books with my family to  gather and express gratitude for the beautiful growing season.

I love this time of year, the beautiful fall colours and crisp, cool air. It’s so refreshing!

Also!

Visit me on twitter tonight as we gather to be thankful for the momentum that the #MMIW is gaining new ground. We gather tonight to discuss how and if we should teach our children about #MMIW. What do you think? What do our children need to  know about this issue, do they need to understand and why? Tune in tonight on twitter 7-8pm #MMIW September 28 @msearthtalker

Momentum

I am feeling very blessed right now. There has been a huge shift in energies for a long time. Mother Earth is changing, and has been changing for some time now. We can feel the changes. I am feeling very blessed at this moment to sit at the edge of equinox and see substantive changes in our humanity as a response. In the same week, well-known UN ambassadors calling on us to change. Feminism includes men and boys, climate change calling on society to become earth conscious…and the story of our prophecies are being shared. Saying, it is time. We are in the time of the Seventh Fire. Two paths lie before us.
It is time to choose.

Our paths have remained separate for long, long time. The newcomers have changed the landscapes of our home.
What will the future look like?
What is the future that we want for our children, and grand children.
All of those questions need to be asked, and examined.
The work of the buffalo is happening once again, their hoof marks replaced by human tracks.
A re-balancing is occurring.

Simulatenously I walk through my life and totter on the edge of imbalance. Working through my own humanity, awakening to a new and heightened sense of instruction.
I have been called to lift out of a very familiar way of being. I’ve grown so comfortable, so complacent with this way of being that I’ve become lazy.
Convinced that this is the way life is, I continue to tell myself lies so I don’t have to change.
And yet, I hear whispers from within urging me up…out of my complacency. I feel something calling me to my path in this life, and that path does not resemble anything I know.
And I drag my feet.

I became aware recently that I have allowed myself to ruminate, once again. I did not let go completely, and in not doing so, I swam in the sludge of my own making. There have been many reminders lately of the work I must do. Though I know this time i need help getting there.
I reached out today, and I will continue to reach out because everything inside of me is telling me that I am worth it.
Everything inside of me is telling me that i must do what ever it takes, I must dig deeper than I have ever been in order to find that peace within.
Everything inside of me is telling me that I am not alone. Slowly, the world outside is shifting and the messages are starting to line up.
Positive messages from friends and loved ones letting me know they support me, kindnesses and smiles from strangers.
I am feeling so very blessed to be riding the wave of change. It is a momentum that will sweep all we know aside and re-create something so beautiful we cannnot even imagine it.
We must continue to pour our most postive, loving energy into all we do, and think, and create. For all that we imagine will come to fruition with our most loving thoughts.
Peace, love & light…

Violence, Women, Water Aka: Climate change EarthTALKER RemiXX

On the last day of summer, thousands around the worldarch for #climate change.
Many organizations are coming together to discuss the topics most urgent. Water, Women, Violence and Climate change. There seems to be an awakening, and in ever increasing numbers…the messages overlap. Freedom from colonialism, Oppression, Capitalism, violence against women, privatization of clean water, gender equality, Missing women in Canada and the US, AND yes, the South as well.

All of these things are related. And urgently needing our attention. Our countries Canada and the United States BECAME the most powerful BECAUSE their unrelenting destruction continued UNCHECKED. First it was exploitation of the South American gold, the fur trade, Lumber, and people. Squanto & Pocahontas were only two of MANY individuals who cross the oceans, most as slaves or “oddities” to be peered at by jeering, curious crowds…much like our Amazonian cousins of today who are venturing forth from deep in the Rainforest

What is most troubling about todays problems is the ingrained need for EXCESS. Not only are the decision makers NOT responding to urgent concerns like Missing & Murdered Indigenous women; Anti-fracking demonstrations, they are continuing their agenda by seeking FURTHER extra terrestrial resources like our closest neighbour – Our Grandmother moon. I heard about the NASA moon “bombings” and was furious. http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/LCROSS/main/prelim_water_results.html#.VB9RmGS9Kc0
Not only do they (politicians, general public) not care about the mess the Earth is in, they want to destroy other areaa for the resources too.
Enough is enough. You won’t find what you are looking for out there. There isn’t an universe big enough to fill the void you are trying to fill.
That emptiness inside.
Is IN you.
Searching constantly for something outside isn’t going to satiate it. All of this violent behaviour is a cause from not knowing and understanding #Love
We love our Earth and many of us are willing to stand up for her health and well-being. We care for the young ones yet to come, we want to ensure their health and well-being.

Join me tonight to discuss the parallels between colonialism and gender violence tonight on twitter. The third of Four twitter chats leading up to Oct 4, 2014 Sisters in Spirit vigil. Join hands, its not about US and Them any more. It never really was. #MMIW Sept
7-8pm @MsEarthTALKER
Universal love, and change…there is nothing to fear…

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.

@msearthtalker

Relevant links and info:

http://www.nwac.ca/files/download/NWAC_3D_Toolkit_e_0.pdf

https://m.facebook.com/profile.php?id=313160025391260&refsrc=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.ca%2F&_rdr

http://walkingwithoursisters.ca/

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!

Rise

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…