Tuesday, December 11, 2012

What are you going to do with them?

Tired. In untold ways... --and woke up with half a tooth gnawing away at my mouth, cutting my cheek....

And me without dental insurance. So I scoped out dental insurance plans offered in South Dakota --and what a bunch of pahooee. Anything that matters is excluded, the cap on benefits is $1,000 per year, and there is up to 16 months waiting period to have a tooth filled. In other words --fugeddaboutit.

But, now I can't. I have an appointment tomorrow at 9... and because they are on central time and we on mountain time, I will have to leave at some ungodly hour in the morning. But, it was the best I could do.

I will have to call and cancel my participation in the suicide walk, however. And tomorrow night we will be showing a video and having a discussion about boarding school abuse --a survivor has made a documentary of his survival and then his liberation from the aftermath. And he wants to share the good news. The movie has played in various places --now coming to Eagle Butte. The evening has been organized by some of the older ladies in the church --survivors, all.

...generational trauma...
The policy of genocide is detailed in congressional documents: "[Indians] are to go upon said reservations .... they are to have no alternative but to chose between this policy of the government and extermination" (U.S. Senate Miscellaneous Document cited in Brave Heart, 1998, p. 288).
Specific features of this historical trauma response include (a) transposition (Kestenberg, 1990) where one lives simultaneously in the past and the present with the ancestral suffering as the main organizing principal in one's life, (b) identification with the dead (Lifton, 1968, 1988) so that one feels psychically (emotionally and psychologically) dead and feels unworthy of living, and (c) maintaining loyalty to and identification with the suffering of deceased ancestors, re-enacting affliction within one's own life (Fogelman, 1988, 1991). Additionally, there is survivor guilt, an ensuing fixation to trauma, reparatory fantasies, and attempts to undo the tragedy of the past.
Traditional Lakota culture encourages maintenance of a connection with the spirit world. Thus, we are predisposed to identification with ancestors from our historical past. Traditional mourning such as cutting the bereaved's hair and body are expressions of a felt loss of part of oneself with the death of a close relative. Grief was impaired due to massive losses across generations and the federal government's prohibition of indigenous practices for mourning resolution. Hence, our impaired grief and our proclivity for connection with the deceased fueled historical unresolved grief, a component of the historical trauma response.

And the path to wholeness and health? Talking about it, the abuse, the inherited abuse and grief. The practice of generosity and other traditional values. Make others aware of the history of trauma and genocide.
If I needed an excuse to die or get drunk, all those things, all I'd have to do is open up that container inside .... Because I believe that feelings never go anywhere, they never die... they are always with us. So we can destroy the people who are around us with them [feel- ings] or we can help them [people] .... I committed to work with [children who are sexual abuse victims] .... All of these things that are in the past don't have to be bad. Our reaction to them makes all the difference in the world. We can make it good or ... bad.

We can make it good or ...bad.

At prayer this morning (Psalm 28)

O LORD, I call to you;
my Rock, do not be deaf to my cry; *
lest, if you do not hear me,
I become like those who go down to the Pit.
Hear the voice of my prayer when I cry out to you, *
when I lift up my hand to your holy of holies.

Do not snatch me away with the wicked or with the evildoers, *
who speak peaceably with their neighbors,
while strife is in their hearts.
Repay them according to their deeds, *
and according to the wickedness of their actions.
According to the work of their hands repay them, *
and give them their just deserts.
They have no understanding of the LORD’s doings,
nor of the works of his hands; *
therefore he will break them down and not build them up.

Blessed is the LORD! *
for he has heard the voice of my prayer.
The LORD is my strength and my shield; *
my heart trusts in him, and I have been helped;
Therefore my heart dances for joy, *
and in my song will I praise him.
The LORD is the strength of his people, *
a safe refuge for his anointed.
Save your people and bless your inheritance; *
shepherd them and carry them for ever.
I have been taught not to make the pain of those I serve in to my own pain. And I am deeply grateful for the co-dependency training I have received and experienced as well --I know most of my own pitfalls of compassion.

But, here, it goes beyond that.... There is the constant nagging of guilt and shame of my own ancestral participation in the present agony.

And then there's Mark Twain....

Shall we? That is, shall we go on conferring our Civilization upon the peoples that sit in darkness, or shall we give those poor things a rest? Shall we bang right ahead in our old-time, loud, pious way, and commit the new century to the game; or shall we sober up and sit down and think it over first? Would it not be prudent to get our Civilization-tools together, and see how much stock is left on hand in the way of Glass Beads and Theology, and Maxim Guns and Hymn Books, and Trade-Gin and Torches of Progress and Enlightenment (patent adjustable ones, good to fire villages with, upon occasion), and balance the books, and arrive at the profit and loss, so that we may intelligently decide whether to continue the business or sell out the property and start a new Civilization Scheme on the proceeds?

Extending the Blessings of Civilization to our Brother who Sits in Darkness has been a good trade and has paid well, on the whole; and there is money in it yet, if carefully worked -- but not enough, in my judgement, to make any considerable risk advisable. The People that Sit in Darkness are getting to be too scarce -- too scarce and too shy. And such darkness as is now left is really of but an indifferent quality, and not dark enough for the game. The most of those People that Sit in Darkness have been furnished with more light than was good for them or profitable for us. We have been injudicious.

The Blessings-of-Civilization Trust, wisely and cautiously administered, is a Daisy. There is more money in it, more territory, more sovereignty, and other kinds of emolument, than there is in any other game that is played. But Christendom has been playing it badly of late years, and must certainly suffer by it, in my opinion.

Trouble is, I don't think much has changed in the last 120 years.... There are still plenty who would rather scream and cry and rant and rave and by more guns and create cloud castles about birth certificates rather than give up an inch of presumed supremacy and power and their aftermath....

--and the voice in my head talks quietly alongside my own words, saying to me --are things really any worse than, say, in times past when folks had to pass by heads on stakes on the way to town? And I don't know how to answer myself, except to say it was as unacceptable then as it is now.... and the little voice persists saying, perhaps we all deal with historical trauma....

We can make it good or ...bad.

--and forgiveness really is the only way through... give it to God, otherwise, what are we going to do with it?

There we are. Jesus said, "Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment...." (John 16:7-8)

Wrong about sin. About righteousness. About judgment.

(John 20:22-23)
Then he [Jesus] took a deep breath and breathed into them. “Receive the Holy Spirit,” he said. “If you forgive someone’s sins, they’re gone for good. If you don’t forgive sins, what are you going to do with them?”

There we are.