Acts of Power
By Corrine Sanchez
I have been to India and India is still with me.
Columbus set sail to find India, instead he landed on the homelands of my peoples. We are connected. Our history and fates intertwined. Dissimilar, yet mirrors into each other. Our Souls weep and Our Mother aches, yet Our Spirits move forward. Threads of strength weave through generations.
Strategies of murder, rape, assault, biological warfare, laws, legislation and policies written by a government…meant to eradicate and erase us, to “Kill the Indian”. Genocidal practices enforced by 21 U.S. Presidents.
Historical Trauma. Loss of language, loss of culture, loss of land, loss of a way of life–loss of connection to ONE ANOTHER, to SPIRIT.
Intergenerational Trauma. Institutional and structural racism, classism, sexism, ALL the ISMS and Oppressions, poverty, alcoholism, suicide, substance abuse, sex trafficking, forced sterilization, child sexual abuse.
Individual Trauma/ Complex Trauma. Rape, murder, assault, domestic violence, inter- and intra- family violence, bullying.
Guilt, Anger, Shame spread through generations like cancer, Internalized Oppression.
Our HISTORY and shared experiences forgotten, as we relive old patterns, repeating cycles of abuse.
Anti-Immigrant policies, anti-bilingual legislation, War on Women mentalities, FEAR of OTHER spreading like wildfire.
In India, communities sell their girls to brothels to a life of sex trafficking. I ask myself, how can this happen?
Native Women are 3.5 times more likely to experience sexual assault than any other race. I ask myself, how can this happen?
1 in 4 Girls and 1 in 6 boys–a child sexual abuse epidemic. I ask myself, how can this happen?
Predatory behaviors, attitudes and practices. Predatory communities. Predatory legislation. Predatory policies. Is this whom we have become? The places and spaces where violence thrives and silence maintains the chains. No locks are needed to keep us locked in.
Cowardice asks the question, Is it safe? Expediency asks the question, Is it politic? Vanity asks the question, Is it popular? But conscience asks the question, Is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because his conscience tells him that it is right.
- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
We are here. We come to this place NOT on our own. Historical Trauma, Intergenerational Trauma, Individual Trauma, and Complex Trauma all have contributed to where we now find ourselves, as individuals, as families, as communities, as societies, as countries. It is not an excuse. It is history, it is fact.
Where do you(we) wish to go from here? What will y(our) contribution be?
These are questions I asked myself as a Native Woman, a survivor of multiple forms of violence and abuse, a survivor of the last peoples (at the turn of the 21st Century less than 1% of Native Americans exist). One who was not meant to be, yet HERE I AM.
Acts of Power….
STILLNESS AS AN ACT OF POWER
Cultivate a quiet mind. It is an effective antidote to chaos. Practice mindfulness and intent. Be spacious.
ENVISIONING AS AN ACT OF POWER
Through the power of thought we can transform the world. Believe in your dreams.
INTERPERSONAL HEALING AS AN ACT OF POWER
“As we heal ourselves, we heal our ancestors” – Alaska Native Elder
The Circle is sacred. It holds the pain, as well as the possibility for transformation. Each of us is the light.
DEPTH OF INSIGHT AS AN ACT OF POWER
The depth of a conversation is more important than how many people are involved in it. We do not need to get hung up on numbers. Think 10x0x10 (Apne Aap). Meaningful conversation leads to meaningful collective action.
LOVE AS AN ACT OF POWER
Love is the fuel of our actions. Grow the Love. Through love we have the capacity to hold people accountable for their actions, without deviating from our love.
CREATING SACRED SPACE AS AN ACT OF POWER
People gathered in a circle as family, as colleagues, as mothers, survivors, sharing story, prayer, meditation and/or heartfelt conversation, casts a web of healing power within the circle and the world, the ripple effect.
SPIRITUALLY CENTERED ACTION AS ACT OF POWER
By standing for what could be, as opposed to fighting what is we make a stand for a new possibility. We hold the power to create it.
Through acts of power, the lessons I have learned from the spirits, ancestors, my peoples, family, friends, mentors, guides, my Move to End Violence cohort family and the women and girls of India. All who have never given up and who have taken a stand for what was, is and could be, Our Beloved Selves, Families, and Communities. We must hold a vision of what could be IN SPITE OF what currently is.
How we get there is currently being written…what will your contribution be?