Resilience and Emotional Healing
Today, I have come full circle and I am back working for my Tribe, Fond du Lac Reservation. I have been welcomed back with open arms. I hope to work the last ten years of my career serving Native people and empowering and inspiring others to overcome the trauma that life deals us on a daily basis. I want to show others how to cope with the stress of being Native in a racist America.
Losing my job has been the best thing that ever happened to me. There isn’t a better way to delve into your emotional and spiritual reserves and discover if you have what it takes to recover from a traumatic experience like job loss. Racism is a form of psychological violence or a cultural trauma. For the past ten months I have fought a daily battle to not give in to self pity. I have had to develop an attitude of gratitude. I survived, emotionally intact, partially by returning to the old ways of giving in the community and reverting to traditional values of sharing and cooperation. I surrounded myself with my friends and solicited advice from the Elders. Everything for everyone and nothing for myself.
Dr Martin Broken Leg, co-founder of Circle of Hope, offers training on the effect of family experience on resiliency and states that family life is the foundational strength in resiliency. This has been the journey I have been on for the past ten months. The conclusion I have reached is that how resilient we are as an individual, a family, a community and as a Tribal Nation depends on how we heal from historical, intergenerational and cultural trauma that is part of our everyday life and is the key to our survival as a people.
Donna Ennis is employed in the Behavioral Health Program and is a tribal elder at Fond du Lac Reservation. She is also on the Board of Directors for the Minnesota Department of Social Work.
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