“…Then I Found my Spirit”: The Meaning of the United Nations World Conference Against Racism and the Challenges of the Historical Trauma Movement with Research Considerations



En Excerpt


Spiritual Groundings

Without the ability to replicate the spiritual dynamics of the workshop, I would nonetheless like to share the basic cultural protocols that opened, guided and closed the workshop. The point here is that anytime people who have experienced historical trauma convene — even in the larger context of research — it is an opportunity to engage in a re-establishment of spiritual tradition. For workshop providers catering to Indigenous peoples, an obligation exists to steep the experience in a spiritual grounding: the act of cultural imperialism through spiritual denial has substantially contributed to the demise of Indigenous peoples’ cultures. Through legal oppression, the barring of Indigenous spiritual practices have delayed the mourning and prevented the necessary healing for full recovery (Brave Heart, 1995). Practicing one’s culture while interacting with other, especially dominant, cultures, is an act of self-determination that should be upheld as a standard not an alternative.

As Indigenous people reverse the marginalized “Indigenous world” by practicing their spiritual rituals, not only on the reservation but where ever they go across man-made map lines, they will become spiritually whole by doing away with what Dubois called the “two souls” (Dubois, 1969). The fundamental question is how do we create a world where the Indigenous people are again fully integrated into their own cosmology no matter where they are standing and no matter who they are interacting with? This is both a political and a spiritual concern; no other practice is as significant as spiritual grounding, for it connects the gathering — that is the people — to tradition, to the cosmos, to the Creator. It is premised that Healing our Spirit World Wide is primarily a spiritual endeavour requiring ever-affirming and ever-inclusive spiritual practices, in as many places and times as will create the spiritual healing of historical trauma.

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