Breaking Barriers: A Cultural Healing Trauma Workshop

Inter-Generational Trauma

Multi-generational trauma happens when the effects of trauma are not resolved in one generation. When trauma is ignored and there is no support and no resources for dealing with it, the trauma will be passed from one generation to the next. What we learn to see as “normal”, when we are children, we pass on to our own children.

The self-defeating learned ways of behaving that people use to protect themselves can be passed on to children, without them even knowing they are doing it. This cycle can lead to many future generations suffering and living out the same trauma that our great grandmothers and grandfathers have faced. We must take the lead. We must not shrink at the topic of trauma; we must face it head on.

Trauma has a way of storing itself in the body for later use. When we go into flight mode our bodies retract and focus on survival, leaving us vulnerable to situations and events that will store themselves in our bodies. After all trauma and other significant events that have taken place in a person’s life is just stored energy, and like all energy it must continue its motion. Energy both positive and negative must continue its motion forward as does with Father time.

Father time only knows one direction and that’s forward, or ahead.

We must align our spirits with the natural flow of time and the four seasons. A gentle yet subtle motion continuing in one direction. This energy force is the same source we draw our strength from to overcome these traumas, from within. It takes drumming circles, healing circles, sweat lodge ceremonies, spirit cleansing (daily all year round), connection to the long house for potlatches, feasts, and other ceremonies. We must continue to strengthen our connection to mother nature and all of her bountiful harvests, especially those very practices that Residential Schools almost completely stripped from us.

The Link Between Residential Schools & Inter-Generational Trauma

Mission Schools were established in the early 1600’s and ran until the 1800’s. This has been stated as the pre-cursor to the Government of Canada’s Residential School reign of terror. All designed to remove culture, language, and our way of living – as they were too afraid to learn and adopt our traditional ways.

A genocide against our culture for simply being different. Since 1492 approximately 95% of the Indigenous populations across Canada has been needlessly wiped out. We now represent around 4% of the current population in Canada, and that number is on a slow incline, one researcher has stated.

The Mohawk Institute in Brantford, Ontario became the first Residential school ever, on record. At first, only boys were admitted into the school but in 1834 they started allowing girls in too. This same school started accepting its first round on indigenous youth in 1831. The stories of many, many First Nations people, both men and women, experienced extremely unsettling treatment to say the least.

The parenting models were based on violence, shame, abuse, coercion, and control.

Our families were shipped off, with no choice. This abuse that our people suffered has been passed on to many generations. We were subject to psychological, spiritual, physical, emotional and sexual abuse at the hands of so-called caregivers. If you subject one generation to certain kinds of parenting strategies and they have children, those children then become subject to the same treatment. As a result, you subject a 3rd generation, and beyond, to the same Residential School system as the first two generations.

People of the church were supposed to be trustworthy servants of the lord. The long-term impact of these Residential Schools left a major hole torn in our way of life. We now have a long line of mental health challenges due to the trauma that ensued at these schools.

The anger, anxiety, low self esteem, post-traumatic stress disorder and depression are just to name a few of the massive pitfalls that were dealt to us. That, coupled with alcoholism, addiction, and also suicide, is at the top of the list of the mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual bankruptcy brought on by the trauma caused by these Residential schools across Canada.

Remote First Nations communities across the country suffered a massive amount of loss that has carried on into the present day. The genocide against us has not stopped, it has only slowed in some ways. It’s up to us to make that shift in consciousness possible, through healing our trauma.

We must continue to heal each community, one by one, so we can assure that our future generations will have a brighter future full of love and light.

The more work we embark on in the present day, the less our children will have to do in the future years.

The Healing Journey Within

The healing journey has one common jump off point – it always starts with connection to self. One must first admit that they do in fact have areas in their lives that are questionable, areas where a pattern of self destruction happens without warning.

It is through this admittance of defeat towards one’s own behaviour that the freedom from self begins. Perhaps the teacher does show up when the student is ready and eager to embark the change involved to clear away the wreckage of the past.

We must lean into the parts of our character that are challenging. We must lean into them, address them, and correct the behavior. We must find the root cause of the behavior, most times it goes back to intergenerational trauma that has not been processed and dealt with.

We can chip away at it each time it rears its head in our lives instead of not addressing which will only make things worse in the long run. To have our future generations be led by strong educated First Nations people we must first heal together in each community. This more work we do on our spirits now the less our grandchildren will have to do. We must do our best to make it easier on them.

Workshop Length: 5 days (4 days of healing work, 5th day is a cultural day)

Please check the calendar for upcoming dates!