Creator of all beings and things in the Universe, Nya:Weh. When this year began I was blind from cataracts on both eyes. My vision had deteriorated so that I could no longer see well enough to drive at night. But, with the anointing of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit I’ve had one of the most wonderful years of my life. Studying the most important letter ever written, Paul’s letter to the Roman Church, is profoundly transforming my spiritual growth.
With difficulty I got through the task of helping with my 50th Darden High School Reunion. Amid criticism, negative gossip and being labeled as unreliable my blind eyes completed the task set before me. And, yes I can become unreliable when someone dictates to me what to do, when to do it, and how to do it in a high drama manner. I don’t do drama! It just makes me become a rebel with a cause! I now know that withdrawing inside myself and taking no action is an unhealthy response. Confronting drama in love and complete honesty is a wiser way of living. Even though, for me the overall experience was a negative one, I learned many valuable life lessons. Unfortunately, I didn’t learn these lessons when I was a teenager, so fate brought me back to revisit high school fifty years later to help teach me how to become a better human being.
- First life lesson is don’t participate in gossiping about people behind their backs. Gossiping opens the door to negative energy in my mind and clouds my view of the gifts of others.
- Second life lesson is don’t participate in criticizing and judging others. I’m a sinner and I don’t have the right to judge anyone. Jesus is the judge of mankind not me. As my grandmother would say, until you’ve walked a mile in someone else’s moccasins you don’t know their pain.
- Third life lesson is to be gentle, kind and humble with other people. Many people are suffering with low self-esteem, broken hearts, unfulfilled dreams, childhood trauma, financial hardships, health complications and difficult day-to-day circumstances. Give others the benefit of doubt that they are doing the best they can with what they’ve got. When encountering negative energy in people, just walk away. Don’t let someone else’s negativity attach itself to me.
- Forth life lesson is that we all are going to experience negative people and circumstances. These events are meant to teach us lessons that build our character. It’s how we respond to challenging circumstances that reveals our true hearts. In the past, I have withdrawn as a defense but now I realize that’s an unhealthy choice that just makes the situation worse. As an indigenous woman, I have to be strong and resilient.
I struggled with difficult family circumstances resulting from abuse by my grandmother’s husband that left me wounded when I was in high school. In the 11th and 12th grades, I kept a one-way bus ticket in my purse to run away to my father’s people on the Big Cypress Seminole Reservation in Florida. My years of attending Sam Vick and Darden were the worst in my life. Contrasted to going to Nash Central in grades one through five, where my mother taught Home Economics, I felt safe and included. The majority of students and teachers at Nash Central were indigenous or mixed blood, like me. But by God’s grace and mercy combined with the prayers of Minnie, Mat, Grand-Mère, childhood friends Angela and Cynthia, I graduated from high school.
As painful as the Darden High School Class Reunion of 1968 has been, I’m thankful for the opportunity to revisit high school because it provided me opportunities to grown into a better human being. The only person I can change is myself. But by changing myself I can gain the knowledge necessary to be an effective Elder to the Algonquin Nation. It’s not all about me but the Seven Generations behind me. It’s about Native Pride, Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women & Girls and indigenous fashion as a way of healing our collective brokenness through Poo’miikapi (teach, learn, share, heal) Textiles.