In thinking of what I really want to do one idea had was to contribute to the little native paper that sits in the waiting areas at the Native Hospital, I forget it's name right now though and will have to go run and pick up a copy of it this week. I wanted to begin writing some articles for it but quickly ran into a stumbling block on my first one!

I wanted to write passionately and strongly about our need to truly overcome the effects of being 'Americanized' and losing so much of ourselves. I had a great first paragraph going too until I came to the part about healing and letting go. It was a strange feeling since I felt like I was writing a lie and couldn't figure out why at first. Then I realized it was partly my own feelings about my own family that caused me to unconsciously call myself a liar when writing this piece.

I realized I was telling everyone else to forgive their family, friends, and other natives for past "crimes" and start anew since it was necessary for us to truly heal and grow strong again. That little voice that speaks from my heart said 'so you are going to call up your sisters and become a family again?' and I was like "Oh! No! Of course not, not after my daughters had to scrub toilets in a homeless shelter, NEVER!" and realized why I could not write this article yet.

Moral Dilemma, big time! Going back and forth between what I believe needs to happen as a whole for Alaskan Natives and my own personal feelings...life is hard sometimes!

If you truly believe that we need to forgive the 'Whatevers" that happened because we need to remind ourselves that they suffered the same ill-treatment too then... and I didn't even want to think of it. Becoming friends and a family again with my own family, ha! So, I tell myself so many arguments for and against, back and forth, that whole he said/she said thing that can drive you up the wall when you can see both sides of an issue. So, after many days of this internal argument I decided that this should be the starting point of this series then.

So, I will be trying to work this up into a series of sorts, and will try to get a few written before showing them to that Native newspaper. I was thinking since it sits there for everyone to read and people do browse through it that this is a good place for some of my ideas to go. I am thinking if I can rewrite this first piece to reflect this internal conflict and maybe show real steps to be taken and maybe getting and trying to follow the advice offered that it can be a very good series. I think the idea of 'baby steps' is a good way to try to totally change the way you think and feel. So, I will be trying to contact people to talk about this issue with and try to frame up a series and sort of personal goals for all of us reading it to meet.

Another idea is to get involved politically somehow. The problem is I am a bit shy about speaking up in front of people! On here I can go on and on easily but in person something happens and my ideas never reach my mouth but end up in my stomach and create butterflies that flutter and I get too nervous. I emailed the Alaska Federation of Natives and mentioned I was chosen as a Pulsewire correspondent and wanted to know of issues or things they thought would be good for me to research and I also emailed the Reznet online place too. I haven't heard back from them yet or might have deleted them as "spam" if I didn't recognize their name.

I am excited about it since I will be getting a few weeks of vacation starting next Thursday so plan to do lots of research and stuff during that time. I am feeling motivated but hesitant since it does feel very forward to have written to them saying I want to become a leader of sorts. I get that feeling of 'sheesh, how big is your head?!'

It seems sometimes I just love to post so sorry if I "talk" too much but I am excited and want to share a bit of it here with my sister-friends.

love,

Maria

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I definitely don't think you talk too much. In fact I always throughly enjoy reading your posts and stopped by here today to let you know I'm always here listening. So please don't apologize for being you. You're beyond lovely!

Someone once said to me that I shouldn't wait to be fully healed myself before I attempt to heal others. In fact in working on healing others I will learn to heal myself. I wanted to pass that on because I think that its important for you to continue to write about your native culture in spite of your obstacles.

I myself am working on conflict resolution and resolving conflicts and cultural misunderstandings between nations and diverse communities and am especially interested in anglo-irish relations, and yet I have so much conflict in my personal life that I continue to struggle with it on a daily basis. How can I possibly work to heal conflicts between warring nations when I can't even heal the conflicts within my own life and within myself? Sometimes I think working to achieve peace between nations seems far far easier than working to achieve peace in some areas of my personal life! Now I don't want to let those problems get in the way anymore, because I'm beginning to see, on some days I think, that they may very well be the reason I'm doing the work I am right now. So perhaps I should be grateful for the lack of peace in my life?

Okay I talk a lot too. I've no idea if that was helpful or not, but I hope it was... Many Blessings for all the great work that you do Tina

Thanks for your support, Tina!

I always try to make sure what I write has meaning and suddenly felt I was lying and read it over again and was confused. Everything I had written I believed to be true so I wondered what was wrong with it. In listening to my heart I realized why it felt like a lie to me. I can't wait to read about your conflict resolution ideas! I love that idea of "Camelot" and "Avalon" working side by side like this! I know, it is so true how it seems far easier to bring about world peace then deal with your own family or whoever!

I feel it is a vital thing to really create this mood where we overcome our past and grow strong as a peoples, all of us together instead of some of us feeling the path is not quite right or something. But the mood is inspiring when you see all the action being taken and how all we need now is to show that 'the rest of us natives' are invited to join the party so to speak.

It seems a lot of our leaders have become infected with the 'western mindset' and are maybe not 100% working for the natives as much as themselves. At least that is the way it can seem for my native 'corporation'. I will work on this though. I hope to take all I learned during my years of struggle and surviving my marriage to help change the same relationship for my Peoples too. Once I get it to where everyone can see that the relationship between America and it's indigenous peoples is in fact an abusive one that needs to be changed into something healthy. It really seems to be hitting up against a wall sometimes though. It is one thing I really love about here though, where woman from all over and especially the American ones all work to help lift woman out of the oppressions they are living under. I think a major change is coming so am hopeful!

hugs and love,

Maria

It is interesting how you describe America's oppression of native culture as abusive as I have felt very much the same way about the "british" oppression of cultures in the United Kingdom. We don't refer to these cultures as indigenous however as the native cultures there, are themselves made up of a mixed bag of once invading people. England has been invaded and inhabited by peoples from all over Northern Europe since the dawn of time: vikings, celts, normans, saxons, roman. However, in the far corners of England and in Ireland are groups of people we most often refer to as Celtic in heart, soul and culture. They are the Cornish, the welsh, the scottish and the Irish. And there will be a few groups of people within those regions that will define themselves further. All these people speak a similar language believed to be of celtic origin: gallic, gaelic or of gaul (which is/was Northern France.) I will need to look at the historyin more depth at some point, but I think it was under cromwell that England truly began to oppress the cultures of these people in order to bring everyone under one government and in line with one vision. THis meant traditional clothing , musuc, song and language was attempted to be wiped out. In addition in Ireland, land was taken over, the original inhabitants were transplanted to less fertile land, exiled or executed. In the case of my own Irish ancestors, they were moved by force from their chiefdom in Leinster to Galway where they were given smaller patches of land and became tenant farmers under english landlords. During the famine in 1850 they moved to Lancaster, England to find work int he mines. THat's how I came to be ENglish!!! I don't know if it is the western mindset that is abusive, but perhaps the patriarchal society. Celtic culture as well as native indigenous culture in America and Canada is actually matriarchal and based on the mother goddess and nature. Although today those cultures are a mix of celtic christianity or catholicism. which is a mix of spiritual connection to nature, worship of the virgin mary "the mother" and Traditional christianity. It is much more feminine I feel. ANyway, much to talk about. My son is graduating from nursery school.. Aww! So must find lots of tissues before leaving. Love Tina x

The other thing I wanted to say was that I am wondering how much of the Britain and American culture of oppression has been borne out of this history. It was the English who came to inhabit America all those years ago who first oppressed the native cultures here and it is the English who as a country and culture have suffered through years of invasion and conquest themselves. Perhaps this cosmopolitan mixed bag of heritage that makes up every English person has created this culture of oppressing and invading others? This need for power and control over others.This continued "western" belief that if we successfully control another country then we can feel safe knowing they won't control us! Right?! Isn't that the reason for the war in Iraq and against terror?

My thoughts aren't entirely formulated at the moment so apologies to anyone reading this if I sound uneducated on the subject. These are thoughts and ponderings not facts. Another thought is that the English who first founded America, who first came here, did so to pursue a new puritanical lifestyle they did not feel able, or safe to, in their homeland. When I think of this as an area of study I think of it as the psychology of nations. Just like people who are abusive have very often been abused and mistreated themselves, perhaps abusive cultures and nations are acting in a similar way, except instead of over a lifetime, over centuries.

Things are most definitely different in England today. The second world war and the threat of invasion and conquest from the Germans following the tragedy of the first world war in such a short time of history had a massive impact on the hearts and minds of all Britons which continues to impact us all today. Put that all together with the incessant grey skies and bad dentistry and is it any wonder we're a grumpy lot! Okay that last bit was a joke.

Firstly, I am so proud that you wrote to the Alaska Federation of Natives and Reznet. You are an official global correspondent but more than that, you have a strong voice that needs to be heard. Your perspective and ability to bring clarity to issues is powerful, and more people should share in your wisdom and insight. I wish you all the very best in these efforts. Keep me posted.

Secondly, forgiveness.... that elusive practice. There are three kinds of forgiveness, all interrelated. There is self-forgiveness, which enables us to release our guilt and perfectionism. There is the forgiveness we extend to others and receive from them. And there is the forgiveness of God, if that is your belief.

Forgiveness is definitely a nearly impossible ideal but it is achievable if you just start somewhere. Look truthfully at one hurt you have not been able to forgive. Identify the feelings you might have, such as anger, denial, guilt, shame, or embarrassment, and imagine what it would be like to live without that feeling. Then let it go. Just let it go. Perhaps other steps may be also needed for healing — making amends, changing behavior, etc.. — but giving up your claims for, and sometimes against, yourself is a great place to begin.

In contrast to the limiting behaviours that could be relieved by forgiveness — feeling so wounded that we want revenge, worry that the hurt could happen again — forgiveness is freeing. It means that we can move out of our previous position and move on with our lives. So, take that first step Maria and free yourself of these hurts that claim you. Big hug, Janice

Someday when I create my perfect line of winter hardy roses one will be called 'Janice' since you always make me think I am a real person somehow! That will be a while yet but I wont forget you my friend!

Oh, forgiveness, sigh! I am at peace in my soul and with my Goddess so those parts are ok but the other... I don't know, I think I can forgive anything that is done to me since I can take anything anyone can dish out since I am strong but when it comes to my daughters that is another story. I do believe that a journalist has a responsibility to write what is true or Truth so find myself feeling it is only a platitude, I think that is the word where you say something for others to believe but don't do it yourself, and think that is wrong.

This article talks of it and how I feel it is the right decision but now find I need to think about it some more: http://www.worldpulse.com/node/7268

I do think it was right but now that I want to say things that I think will help other Alaskans that I am not sure anymore. There are already too many people who say nice things and do not mean them truly and I do not want to become one of them. I think it is a good starting point where I can point out how we are not perfect so... conflicting ideas and wants and desires will probably always be a part of our life so decisions need to be made. And how we can always change it later on too, where we are not carving a stone figure but are living and breathing.

I still need to think on it some more though to where I feel I am being 'Truth' and not just pretty words. It is such a fun challenge trying to be a journalist!

Maria

Hi Maria, You are a wonderful woman you know. I know how you feel, it is not easy to forgive, easier said than done, but you have to do it. This is not because of those people you are forgiving but because you want to move forward. Look at how the hurt of the past want to tie you down now, not allowing you to write into your local paper which is a bright idea. Infact you are giving me the clue now that i can also be doing that to educate our women on their rights and how to exercise it. Thank God you are sharing this, please take the bold step to forgive and free yourself to move forward. It may take time to completely healed but just take the step and you will see that bit by bit you will let it go. I pray for the strenght of God for you and He will see you through. You are a very strong woman and i appreciate you so much.

Hugs Busayo

Busayo Obisakin Women inspiration Development center Ile-Ife, Nigeria busobisaki@yahoo.com womeninspirationcenter@gmail.com http://womeninspirationce.wix.com/widcng

Isn't it funny how it can suddenly feel like running into a wall when you get excited and begin running at full speed and then it feels like 'Bam! Ouch! Hey, what was that for?" I think our advantage is that our writing will have more effect because we "live it" instead of just talk about it. that is what is so exciting about Pulsewire I think! Working together with good woman who truly care about others is so inspiring to me!

I am trying to figure out how to turn this conflicting feeling into a starting idea for that series. I love your work and can't wait to read your articles! Thanks and I do believe our God does guide us and give us the strength to get through, though I call her Goddess. I love seeing past these differences in religious ideas and seeing they are remarkable similar in how they guide us all toward what is good in the world!

love, Maria

Maria,

Do you see the amazing conversation your post has started? Reading your words and then the responses of Tina, Janice, and Busayo made me realize that I am not alone in my struggles. We all face conflict, we all crave forgiveness, and we all have the power to heal. What a gift you bring to us on a Thursday. Thank you.

Love, Jennifer

p.s. Month Two is Frontline Journal. I think you are already working on that piece... even if you don't know it! :-)

Jennifer Ruwart Chief Collaborator JR Collaborations

I love it, your mention of Thursday made me think of that one movie called 'Hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy". I just love your hair! I try to get the girls to go for the 'big hair' but they say I am just stuck in the 80's in my big hair ideas...

Frontline journal?? can't wait, I am enjoying all the material so far and look forward to the discussion and Q&A!

Struggles, it is true that some days the struggle just to get through it takes all your energy, thank the Gods it is summertime and the girls have reading and we can all take a break! I think it is such a fascinating concept of hwo far healing can take us. I was thinking of that this week a lot, of how powerful it is to see your daughters heal a bit more each week. I am so thankful for that! Part of it is they are not yet ready to see my family after feeling left out in the street, so to speak. I guess maybe part of my writing will be for them as well as for my culture.

hugs,

Maria

Maria, my beautiful sister, I read your post this morning and wanted to answer right away, but didn't have time. So, all the other gals have said most of the words I would also have said, including how good if feels to have you reunite us in cuddling conversations.

So, I will just add one more thing from my own experience. You know Maria, once upon a time after some terrible stories that I will tell you about some other time, I was left on the streets with my two kids, with nowhere to go and no money in my pocket. There were no shelters for women back then. And I got really angry at myself, at my family, at my husband's family, everyone in general. A year after that, when I was living in a house of my aunt's and I was attending the university, we found out that my aunt was dying from cancer. Some months after that, she had to sell the house to pay for the medical bills. And I was on my own again. This aunt of mine was like a second mother to me, so I took care of her for six months, leaving my kids with their father. I cried every day. When I came back home, my other aunts, my mother, my grandmother, had left my kids totally abandoned, my husband was in the hospital, and I had lost my job. It wasn't easy to forgive them. My kids were so thin and frail. Even more, all these women were saying I did not work enough...

One afternoon, after getting tired of crying and lamenting, in the solitud of my bed, I made a big change in my life: I got divorced from my family. Yes! It occurred to me that they were hurting me because I loved them so much. But when I divorced them, I felt like I had taken a big burden out of my shoulders. Only then things started to look nicer to me. And it took me four years to take the next step of forgiveness, which I did through reading a wonderful book that I will now refer you to: "You Can Heal Your Life" By Louise Hay.

One more thing, which might be the most important of all, I prayed a lot. I prayed to my Heavenly Father that I should be brave enough to overcome all this. And I put all my troubles in His hands. My testimony of His love is, that when I had nothing to eat at home, and I had given the last piece of bread to my kids, that very same day, a lady knocked at my door and said: 'Hello, I felt the need of bringing this to you, please receive it as my welcome present' (I had moved to the building a month ago). The bag had all kinds of food, that lasted for a week. My Heavenly Father sent her. From then on, I know in my heart He takes care of me, and he provides me with green pastures and great blessings.

By taking the first two steps (getting divorced from my family and reading the book), I finally got rid of the knot in my throat, I slept happily at night, and I am healthy since then. By praying so much through the whole process I did not go crazy. Maybe some of this stuff, at your own pace, with your own touch, could help you sort out these mixed feelings. Or maybe not, I don't know. But I felt the need to tell you about this, because I want to let you know that you are not alone, we are here to talk to you, to listen to you, and to share with you.

Thank you for trusting us with your feelings. We love you. We may not be physically with you, but in spirit, we are really near.

Warm hugs,

Jackie

Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva Tarija - Bolivia South America www.jap21.wordpress.com

Thank you for sharing part of your story! I know the strength it took to dare to be with nothing and how worth it it is! Did you ever read mine where I felt that same sort of way about my family? http://www.worldpulse.com/node/7268 I felt it was the right decision and can look myself in the eye and like what I see so know it was the right one to make.

It is only when trying to write the 'bigger picture' idea of how we need to pull together as a people and care about each other since we need to remind ourselves that we all went through the same traumatic experience and dealt with it in different ways. How we need to take a breath and let it all do and begin to heal and grow strong again that it began to feel like I was telling a lie. That is why I had to stop and think about it all again. What is the right thing in this case? If I can care and love other natives because I know what they went through and how hard it was for them, why can I not do this with my own family too? It caused many serious headaches trying to find what was "right". I finally decided the best thing is to use this since I imagine many other natives feel this too and can agree for everyone else but... So think it is an issue that needs to be brought into the open somehow.

Isn't it so hard trying to get free and find the lack of support though? We are both lucky in that we were strong enough to overcome it but how many of the rest need our strength to guide them there now? That is how I am looking at it right now. How we can show there is not a magical button to press and suddenly everything will change to how we want it to be but by starting together we can get there and sooner then we think, too!

I keep picturing how it must have felt to see your children so thin! Like a million knife wounds into your heart! Sending you a ton of hugs! Once I post this I will turn on Skype to see if you are awake still. But it is 1:30 here almost so you are probably already asleep and I am wishing you sweet dreams!

Love,

Maria

Dear Maria, I don’t think you talk too much. You post your journal timely and we it to read. Do you want us to be happy or sad? I know you will prefer happy. Then please post everyday. This month I am quite busy but I will try to manage my time to read your entire articles and comment them. Today I got chance to talk with Jennifer. I am so happy to hear her voice. Friends, my Skype account is sunitabasnet6 .

Big hugs

With Love and RegardsSunita Basnet

Hi Maria

It's always such a pleasure to read what you write. And you always manage to set us off on another subject!

I look forward to reading your "pieces", as I'm sure there'll be so much to read and learn from you. Thank you for being so open and sharing with all of us a piece of yourself. I think we're going to end up a motley bunch of writers creating a gorgeous kaleidoscope!

Personal healing and healing for my nation are at the top of my mind these days. So its great to read all the different ideas passing through this group.

Keep it up!

Manori