I heard you say something the other day.
I was sharing a little about my life’s plan – where I had been to educate myself on the policy that governs our lives, and where I was planning on going. You told me that you used to have a plan to do things but then you got pregnant, and there was a note of lamentation indicating you wished you could be doing work for your community, too.
Stop right there, I said. And I told you this.
You are providing a safe home and raising a robust, healthy child. You have done everything in your power that you could possibly do to be okay, and your child is going to be okay.
Because we never used to be like this. It never used to be this way.
All of the issues that so negatively affect our communities, the issues with poverty, and mental health and abuse, the violence and alcoholism and the displacement – this is all new.
Our people never used to know suicide.
We never knew these diseases.
We never knew not having a family and a community and providing for oneself and others and a home.
Our communities are hemorrhaging and it is not by virtue of who we are, but what has happened to our people, within our living memory, all so recently.
Because we never used to be this way.
And all of it, all of these larger than life issues now running so rampant and systemic in our communities that it seems nobody quite knows where to begin in remedying, is ending in your family, with you.
By virtue of raising a young child who is going to be okay.
And one day your child will have a family, and their children will be okay, and so will their kids, until one day all of this hemorrhaging, in the thousands of years of our successful, healthy, robust self-determining, self-regulating and brilliant existence, will have just been that anomaly that happened to our people that one time, that one time back then, and more will join you and are already joining you, and this will continue until all our people heal because, we have to. Because…it never used to be this way.
You are growing a young person who will know who they are and know their place in their community. Growing even just one healthy Native child, you are in action producing and doing that which is in health and social services policy makers most luminous and incandescent dreams.
And so. There are many avenues to contributing to your community. Never doubt the manner in which you are contributing to yours.
[Authors Note – There are 1000 terrible things that can still happen to kids with parents doing their best to provide a safe and healthy home, and there are likely 1000 people who can exceptions in this, but that won’t be prohibitive in writing this out with someone in mind to which this post most certainly applies. And perhaps, it may apply to others as well].