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I am dancing outside… hawks circling overhead, sweetness of poplar resin in the air, prairie breeze filled with the ripeness of spring… It is an old dance; an ancient dance… one that is new to me, though my body responds with familiarity… the steady beat of the drums moving me deep inside myself, the smell of tobacco and sweetgrass….
I feel my mother move with me in time, her spirit drawn to the ceremony…. I feel Peters spirit with me, the man who killed my mother years ago… the dance changes for me, the intent becomes clear, I dance him home, I dance him back to his people, I dance him into the embrace of his culture… a space he never knew in this life time. The tears begin to move down my cheeks… I cry for her, for the Mother I lost 16 years ago. I cry for him, for Peter, I cry for his people, the pain, the loss, the lack of justice, the corruption, colonization, residential schools, for all that the Cree and the indigenous people across the world have experienced… Cleansed by the waters of my tears, my feet, my body guided by something greater than I can fathom.
The singing stops as a chanupa is passed before the men. I sit near a woman I had spoken with earlier in the week. She tells me of some loved ones she has recently lost. She tells me this dance, this ceremony, is a way of honoring those who have crossed over. I smile at her, and tell her that makes sense to me. As I prepare to leave, she tells me that next time I come she would like to trade stories with me… I tell her I would love to share. I felt such warmth here, humor and lightheartedness from a group of strangers…
I came to the Blue Quill Cultural gathering on an invitation by former chief Eric Large of the Saddlelake Reserve. We met in the fall, as I pursued my drive to learn where Peter Brighteyes had come from; and what conditions had influenced who he was in this lifetime. Eric was appointed by Chief and Council to work with me. I had the privilege of sitting in the residential schools healing tipi, over the 4-day period. Though I shared my own story of healing murder, mostly I listened. I listened to the elders; a few whom open heartedly shared their experiences in residential school and growing up on the reserve. Of younger people who faced the hardship of growing up with parents who did not know how to parent. Stories of rape, abuse, addiction, shame, death, and suicide. I listened to people speak of the need to move out of the victim blame cycle, take responsibility for their lives, and then the shear magnitude of wounds that need healing. I listened to people talk of the apology from Steven Harper; the pros and cons of the money received by former students of residential schools. The difficulties facing this nation… I was given much with these words, these stories to think about… to consider.
I’ve always believed we can heal anything. Yet I see my approach comes from a relatively privileged perspective. Yes my Mother (Sheila Salter) was murdered, however I grew up in a family, and community that was not dealing with day-to-day despair. Here we have a community where the healing needs to happen on every collective level.
Sure we’ve heard these stories before, yet have we ever listened? Hundreds of thousands of people were affected by residential schools and colonization, with few ever voicing said atrocities out loud. SO imagine for a moment… your children being taken from you at age 5, not being able to speak your own language, your spiritual ceremonies out lawed, being molested, beaten, abused, your food source taken away, your water source polluted, your ability to be self sufficient, the viability of your community gone. Then given some land (then half of it taken back…) and told to live like the alien dominant culture and blamed for any of the problems you have in assimilating!!!! And still to this day treated like a ‘dumb Indian’… This has gone on for over a 100 years! And this is only a small piece of the whole picture….
This is what influenced Peter’s life. This is what sowed the seeds that led to murdering my mother….
Yet no matter how many times the stories are told they still seem to land on deaf ears in our Western culture, with a continuous attitude of ‘they’ need to get over it, and assimilate, ‘be normal… like US.’ Sorry that doesn’t solve the god damn problem! In fact, has that way of thinking ever solved a problem… really? Has it? Think about it! Has Ego based force ever worked…? Look at our world!
Money payouts from the TRC are not going to end the soul loss and the pain. Those that caused the wrongs are mostly dead. So any apology that comes in the form of words and not action cannot create restoration or justice. The government shafting has continued from day one. So that is not the source of the balm that will heal these wounds.
Abuse, addiction and violence are symptoms of cultural decimation. Of the wounds and atrocities faced. They are not something that simply goes away or one gets over… We do not ‘get over’ our wounds. We CAN learn how to make medicine from them when we believe in ourselves and are shown how, when we realize we have the power within ourselves to do so… Yet how does one who has grown up under such conditions find the confidence or the support to create this?
Perhaps the solution feels so intangible as it is New… It lays in a new paradigm of consciousness… a new way of healing and thinking… One that can be found when each and everyone of us regardless of nation, gender, or skin color can honor each others potential. Where we can celebrate our differences as the magnificent colors placed in the fabric of our lives by Creator... Where we can hear each other without needing to fix or change each other… Where there is belief in everyone’s capacity for healing, even one who has murdered, is the abused, abusing, or is in the depths of addiction… Where we are not held by absolutes or blame. Where we as humans do not limit the Dance of life Creator has gifted us with.
This is the place where each of us may Dance our way home. I pray we may we do it sooner than Peter, so that sweet prairie breeze may be felt in this lifetime… May it happen before there are more deaths, more suicides, may hope be found.
About the author:
Our darkness holds the key elements of our personal transformation… Those places deep within that we ‘try’ to avoid or run from; when faced may offer us the power of our personal medicine. We bear within the keys of our unlimited potential; to heal and manifest our destiny. It takes courage to know and admit to our darkness, yet with this risk we open to our light. When we shine light into the recesses of our souls we allow our consciousness to open to the divine within…
We Co-create our life with Great Spirit every moment, we choose whether we do this from a place of consciousness or as a victim of circumstance.
Healing is a synergistic relationship between healer, healee and God. Each part an integral component of the whole. The door is opened for you, and you choose whether or not to walk through. This choice is an act of commitment to yourself and Creator. An act of Intent that allows the powers that be to know you are ready… Through this path you will recognize you have co-created everything within your life, and that you have the ability to change anything that does not serve your highest good. My job is to guide you on this path… offering tools and support that nurture your growth, and foster your belief in yourself to co-create who you are becoming. You will discover what it is like to be free of any wounds, stories, pain and circumstance that have bound you. Through that vision the doorways to your dreams may be actualized.
In my personal healing path I learned how to heal the tragic rape and murder of my mother, (Sheila Salter) who was killed in the parking garage of her work by a stranger ( Peter Brighteyes) in the winter of 1995. Once found guilty of murder he killed himself in jail. Though this was the biggest trauma of my life, it was the catalyst that pushed me to go inside of myself and heal, teaching me of the power that I hold to heal anything at any time if I so choose. In this way I came to a place of peace & compassion with my Mother's death, as well as with Peters. In fact it has led me to working on the reserve from whence he came in a desire to understand his roots… (View articles detailing at waywardhealerblogspot)
We are each capable of moving mountains, when we believe in ourselves, and trust in Great Spirit. One of my Mothers favorite sayings was 'There are no accidents….'
My training includes and is not limited too… Wife, Mother, Reiki Master teacher, Andean Medicine & Ceremony, Soul Retrieval, Laying of Hands with stones, Crystal healing, Aromatherapy, Peace Circle facilitation and mediation, Practical Herbalism…
I am also the Canadian Contact for the Massachusetts based non-profit organization, Vanishing Cultures Foundation. We assist the Indigenous People of Peru yearly.
With Blessings, In Service of Creation,