Deeping Our Relationships for Healing: Our Land, Our People, Our Freedom

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Lisa Sockabasin



The relationship with indigenous people and the United States is devastating and complex. There is shame carried within this relationship. A shame fiercely powerful, that forces society, systems, and individuals to create new narratives. Narratives that both ignore the brutal past and devalues the gifts of the people forcibly violated. Thus, creating a society that hides its past and embeds privilege and value for some, while dehumanizing and making others invisible. For indigenous people, this invisibility has deep impact, one of which is generational health disparities. Indigenous people are highly visible in statistics of despair, such as violence against women, murder, infant mortality, neonatal abstinence syndrome, and more. The health statistics for indigenous people are often not coupled with the stories of why such despair exists. The stories of shame have been erased from our textbooks but not our bodies, a new narrative created, resulting in irreparable harm to indigenous people. This harm, however, is not isolated to indigenous people, the harm is shared with all people. The absence of indigenous ways of being, knowing, and connecting has immense impact on our nation’s ability to live in relationship with this land and with each other. The divisiveness unyielding in our society, easily found with a quick scroll through social media or a click on the television, we are all painfully aware. Our land, also experiencing the loss of the indigenous worldviews of holding the land with care and reciprocity. The lack of indigenous worldviews in mainstream society is a society that lacks connection and respect for all, a society that values individualism rather than collectivism. Indigenous values express the importance of respecting the sovereignty of the land and her people. Viewing the land as a sacred partner, rather than an object of possession and control. As a partner, the land and her people serve each other, providing nourishment collectively. The loss of indigenous voice and leadership across America, has created a great imbalance. We have become a nation of people believing in invisibility and the retelling of history, a place where divisiveness is dominant and seeing truth is too painful. While indigenous people have paid the highest price, all others who share this land, must understand the devastation will be and is being shared with each of us.


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