By Dan Ninham
The Tribal NEAR Science and Community Wisdom Project and Center for Prevention at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota recently completed the second season of their podcast series called “Remembering Resilience.” The Tribal NEAR Project virtually hosted a “Remembering Resilience” conversation that included discussions about the podcast’s topics and themes related to wellness, healing and the resilience of tribal communities.
“We all have a story,” said Linsey McMurrin (Leech Lake Ojibwe), Director of Prevention Initiatives and Tribal Projects with FamilyWise Services. “We all have our struggles. Opening up the opportunity to learn more about these concepts both individually and communally is a form of empowerment. We talk about traumas we have all endured, yet the story does not end there. We want to lift up voices and stories and ideas that will continue to inspire each other to move through and beyond those traumas.”
“To remember all we have overcome, and to be reminded that part of our healing journey is also to extend a hand to those who have yet to climb some of those same mountains. Our stories are inspiring. Our resilience is in our blood. We are called to heal not only for ourselves, but for our ancestors and for our future generations as well.”
“The Remembering Resilience podcast series has allowed us a conduit to include our real, authentic selves, while sharing our ‘a-ha’ moments over the years of learning this information, as we would do naturally with in-person community engagement opportunities. While over the last two years we have missed being face-to-face with community members, visiting, and sharing a meal, a very real bonus that has emerged is that this format allows us to build capacity and create a legacy resource that can be used for years to come.”
McMurrin continued, “In addition to the launch of the two season series, we are working on the final touches to Facilitation and Discussion guides that can be utilized by community groups, agencies and organizations to continue to broaden the understanding around working with these topics. My hope is that we continue to learn more from each other as we work collectively towards surpassing mere survival, and instead creating a norm around seeing individuals, families and communities truly thrive.”
Susan Beaulieu (Red Lake Ojibwe) is an Extension Educator for the University of Minnesota Extension in Family Development/Family Resiliency.
“I first began learning about Adverse Childhood Experiences and how stress and unresolved trauma impact the body, brain, and our emotions eight years ago this past spring,” said Beaulieu. “It was truly a pivotal moment that changed the trajectory and quality of my life in powerful ways.”
“It has been such an honor to collaborate with amazing Indigenous people in Minnesota through the podcast to share what we have been learning as it relates to trauma and healing. It’s been truly inspiring to see how people across our communities are taking what they are learning and applying it to move towards healing and wellbeing for themselves, their families, and communities,” she said.
“Season One was really about laying the groundwork of understanding how stress and trauma impact the developing brain and body, how trauma gets passed down, and understanding how as Indigenous people much of the trauma our ancestors went through, also known as historical trauma, can get passed down through how our DNA is read, and also through family patterns,” Beaulieu said.
“In Season Two, we shifted gears a bit and wanted to get deeper into what we’d been learning around healing, the important elements of healing, and sharing different ways for healing. What we’ve all learned is there is no one ‘best’ way to heal, there are many doors to healing and we really invite people to explore different practices or modalities to understand what works best for them, and to stay open to learning new things.”
“Curiosity is the antidote to judgment … where judgment shuts us down and keeps us from seeing the possibilities, curiosity opens us up to seeing beyond what it is we think we know and understand. Curiosity helps us understand why we do what we do from a place of non-judgment, and when we can do that for ourselves, we are in a much better position to heal and integrate the traumatic experiences we carry. The more we heal and integrate, the less trauma we pass on to our children, grandchildren and community members; we become better relatives and ancestors.”
“And of course this journey of healing isn’t just an individual one, so we also talk about healthy relationships and community as essential pieces of the puzzle in season two. In fact, this podcast is called ‘Remembering Resilience’ for two main reasons; the first is because we all have the capacity to heal … it is an innate part of who we are as sentient and spiritual beings. The second reason is that pre-contact, our Indigenous communities had so many things in place, including practices, ceremonies, the structure of our social systems, etc., that helped generate and maintain wellbeing at the individual, family and collective levels.”
“A huge piece of healing for us is decolonizing our minds, bodies and spirits, through reclaiming our Indigenous wisdom and practices. Thus the name, ‘Remembering Resilience’.”
Beaulieu encourages the readership to share ideas for content in the soon to be worked on season three. People can contact Beaulieu via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or McMurrin at Lmcmurrin@familywiseservices.org.
The first two seasons of the “Remembering Resilience” podcast can be found at: https://rememberingresilience.home.blog.
A “Growing Resilient Communities Gathering” will be held on June 16, from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm central time. This is an annual event that supports Children’s Mental Health and Family Services Collaboratives and Indigenous Communities as they work to build self-healing communities across Minnesota. All are welcome to join this free virtual daylong event. FamilyWise Services is planning and hosting this event with support from the Center for Prevention at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota and the Department of Human Services.
Briana Matrious is also a co-host of the show.