Sharing stories of indigenous work on trauma in our communities
I facilitated a circle at the First Church of the Brethren in the East Garfield community on Chicago's westside.When Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. focused action in Chicago in the mid-1960s, First Church provided the Southern Christian Leadership Conference office space. In knowing this, the circle was indeed on sacred grounds.
The focus of this gathering was how do we share stories of indigenous work on trauma in our communities that can be shared and elevated. Approaches to trauma care has been a focus in Chicago for several years. The stories shared in this circle were of indigenous efforts in addressing trauma in their homes, on their blocks and communities. The participants ranged from elders from the community, recent immigrants from Mexico, students from DePaul, visitors from Rwanda, community police representative, former gang members and members from the church.
After pouring libations, to give honor to the ancestors and introductions, the participants shared their stories. The stories provided an opportunity to share the cultural nuances and communicate complex and sometimes ambiguous forms of embodied knowledge, understanding and wisdom. The particpants supported one another and provided opportunities to connect and work together. It was indeed wonderful to experience such a diverse, mosaic of peoples experiences knitted into a gift of healing.