Message to Western behavioral health providers from the Society of TRUTH
June 01, 2015
Respectfully submitted by Shannon CrossBear, Strongheart Resource Development, to the Children’s Mental Health Network on behalf of the Society of TRUTH
Dear Relatives of all Indigenous Nations,
We, from the Society of TRUTH (Tribal Families Rural and Urban Together Healing), come to you in a good way and ask you to listen to our words. We know that you have come together to talk about how best to serve us in our homes and communities across our nations. We come as family members, youth, service users and elders from tribal communities to share our experiences. We have suffered from these tragedies. We know what hurts and what helps. We are in an active battle against the loss of our children and peers and thus our future.
We fully support the vision of the Native Wellness Movement and through the legacy of our ancestors, prayer, song, ceremony, language and courage; Native people will live in balance and wellness ensuring a rich cultural legacy for our future generations. We too believe we have the strength and resiliency to move beyond and forward from the hurtful past and utilize what our ancestors left us; prayer, faith, songs, dances, ceremony, language and the perseverance to leave a positive legacy for our future generations.
In addition, we grandparents, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, daughters and sons, aunties and uncles, tell you that we must be at the forefront of the dialogue. We must be included in all decisions that impact our families. We must decolonize ourselves and our children. We must revitalize our respective cultural life skills including language and teach prayers and love as the foundation for all healing.
We call upon the collective community to create national campaigns, to join us as warriors for hope, to support our practices, to embrace our experience and fight for the future using our traditional ways. We must include such practices and support for the welcoming of new life, coming of age, purification, protection, wiping of tears, and other indigenous ceremonies.
We implore all of you, no matter what your role, as federal officers, Western professionals, behavioral health providers, program directors and tribal leaders, to pledge resources to ensure cultural revitalization. We ask this of you in a good way. Together we call upon all of you to commit to making sure these things come to pass.