When we share stories with one another we become bound together in powerful ways. Stories provide hope: they have the potential to shine a light into the darkness and challenge us to change our thinking. Stories matter. Stories are powerful. Each month, the Department of Curriculum and Instruction partners with the RPS equity specialists and American Indian Liaison to share the stories of those in our own backyard who are often silenced.
All of us have those days where we wished we could press rewind and start over. But there is no rewind button. We just have to keep on keeping on and hope that whatever has crept into our day to sour it dissipates as soon as possible. I would like to share a recent experience I had with my dog, Walda. (Did you really think I would write a blog post without mentioning her?)
While this girl is no longer considered a puppy (she turned 3 on April 2nd), she does possess an endearing puppy-like quality. Man, this girl has done so much for me. She’s licked my face, rested her head in my lap, brought me her tug toy to play with, you know, all the typical doggie-companion stuff. But just a few days ago, I realized what she has done for me in the vein of personal/spiritual growth.
I’m an introvert so I don’t speak openly much about what is bothering me. If at any point you and I have had a discussion where I’ve shared a piece of myself with you, I love you and I’ve watched how you react to myself and others. Well, this girl here is super friendly to everyone she meets (I’m pretty sure she’s an extrovert), so I’ve shared many things with her. She’s always super happy when I come home and it doesn’t matter how long I’ve been gone--5 minutes or 5 days--when I walk through that door, it’s always a reunion for the ages.
Now, back to what she taught me a few days ago. I came home and, just like clockwork, she got all sorts of excited: zoomies, pet my belly, here’s my tennis ball, tippy-tappy with her big-girl paws, circle-circle-circle.
And I walked right past her without acknowledging her because I was in my own head commiserating with my own thoughts. She came in the room, jumped up on the bed, laid down, and let out a big sigh. A mirror. I saw my reflection in that moment. I didn’t like what I saw. I had to own it because even though she had nothing to do with what I was dealing with, I still made her pay for it. I felt awful.
I asked Dr. Cecil White Hat (Rosebud Sioux Tribal Member, deceased) one time why it seems we suffer so much from historical trauma.
He looked at me and said, “We have forgotten how to use our natural medicines.”
Great. Now, here comes a discussion on roots and herbs. And, because I hold much respect and admiration for this Elder, I need to listen to what he is going to say.
He must have sensed what I was thinking, because he then said, “Our laughter and tears, we have forgotten how to use our laughter and tears.”
I know I always feel good after a laugh or a cry. But why? Our tears release cortisol. If that doesn’t come out during a good cry, it stays in the body and can cause all sorts of negative effects. Cecil was a very wise man. He never carried himself as if he were a walking library. He was a relatable guy. I am forever grateful to have spent time with him and I appreciate his words and lessons.
His brother, Albert White Hat (Rosebud Sioux Tribal Member, deceased), was also well known for his Lakota language and culture revitalization work on the Rosebud Indian Reservation. In this video, he talks about the importance of forgiveness and what can happen if you hold onto anger.
This post brought to you by Dawn Bjoraker, American Indian Liaison for the Rochester Public Schools
Feel free to contact Bjoraker at 507.328.4236 or to connect with her via email
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