Healing our History with Native Peoples
November 11, 2016. Healing Our History with Native Peoples
Offered by Judy Wallace
Healing Our History with Native Peoples -
How might healing our deep wounds open the way for a more life-affirming future? What might be revealed?
There were 13 adults in the circle and 2 teen girls doing their own fun things quietly on the side (the mom of one in the circle) This harvest is done from memory.
We began with a representative for the People of Standing Rock and he stepped into position. Almost immediately one person on the rim felt the presence of fear. Fear would be represented, but not just yet.
The people of standing rock began speaking – he was a man, an elder, and feeling his strength and commitment to stand – to stand firm to protect their land, the mother that has always supported them, and their people.
The next representative was for White Society and he took position immediately in front of the Sioux Elder – he became a white man, he felt strong, was looking beyond the Souix Elder, knowing he could just move forward as he wished, nothing would stop him or get in his way. He felt no connection or compassion for the Elder in front of him; almost like he didn’t even see him.
A resource came in to support and stand with the Souix Elder. He felt better and they stood together. This had no impact on the white man. He still was ready to just move forward with what needed to get done.
A representative came in as Ancestors for both the White Man and the Sioux Elder and stood beside and between them holding benevolent ancestral connection for both. This did not seem to faze the White Man. Sioux Elder liked this. She had a soft presence and seemed loving to both.
One person on the rim was feeling nauseous and felt like she was in the constellation not knowing who she was. At this point she could not really move. I asked her to see if she could try to stand there by her chair and see what might happen. Just to try that. She did but continued to feel sick.
A resource came in to support her. She felt a bit better but went back and forth as the situation between the white man and Sioux Elder did not change much. The Sioux Elder wanted to be seen, acknowledged, understood, and for the White Man to realize the importance of protecting the Earth. That was not happening.
The representative who felt nauseous finally asked if she could kneel down. And she eventually ended up sitting on the floor, bent over, not looking up, and her resource sat behind her and supported her. At some point she felt as if she was the voices that could not be heard.
At some point here Fear came in. Fear stood right by the White Man and almost between him and Sioux Elder, but more by the White Man. White Man was fine with that. The Nauseous Representative felt even worse, and was weeping.
Sometime her sadness also came in. She did not stand too close to the White Man or Elder but more beside the one on the floor who was nauseous and sometimes weeping and the voices that could not be heard.
At some point the resource for Sioux Elder reached down to connect to the weeping one as well. This seemed to help a bit. Resource was for now connected to both Standing Rock Elder and weeping nauseous voices not heard.
At another time one on the rim came in as fear for the Sioux Elder, and went to the Elder’s right foot. And held on there as he sat on the floor. (for me I had the sense he holding him to the ground, maybe holding him back or keeping the Elder in place; he was like a clamp, just my sense)
Another on the rim felt she needed to come in. She was the ancestral homeland for the White Man, the homeland and ancestors he was disconnected from. The homeland he (or his ancestors) left that could not be known or remembered, he was cut off as an immigrant. She stood behind him. He could feel her presence. He began to change and soften; he allowed her to touch his back/shoulders. And as she did he began to lean back into her support, almost more than she could hold. (this would later be mentioned later as possibly connecting with others in another dimension, those who have passed on). Something was shifting in him, a softening, a healing he had not imagined, he did not have words really, he felt the emotion of it, the connection. He was sad. He would later say, “shame is my identity”. Another came in to strengthen the ancestral line behind him so he could really lean back into the ancestors/homeland and feel that support.
He was able to see the Sioux Elder who softened too, and seemed to feel compassion for him, and said he could forgive him. The White Man still did not say a lot but seemed to take this in. That relationship seemed part of a healing process, White Man still tall, leaning back, and holding a much softer energy. Not looking beyond or over the Sioux Elder.
The voices that could not be heard was still sitting on the floor weeping. Both resources came to sit with and beside her (one had been behind her). That seemed to help, but she was still very much suffering. Sioux Elder did not seem to need a resource anymore. The weeping one had not really heard or noticed what was going on with White Man and Sioux Elder. Somewhere in here she realized she was the Children. And continued to be alienated and sad. They all seemed so big and she so small. She did not want to stand, but I asked her to try it and see how that was. When she did, she began to become strong, and angry that her elder was willing to forgive the White Man(so she must have heard that). The anger of “never again”. This was not OK, no, no, no! She realized she was a 15-year old native boy. And could not believe her Elder would do that. She could not respect him, yet was supposed to. The 15 year-old said to the Elder, I won’t see you. He was restless.
I requested that he slowly try to move closer to the group including Fear, Ancestors/homeland for White Man, White Man, and Sioux Elder. He didn’t want to but did take a step or two and then I asked him if he could stand in front of the Elder and let Elder and Ancestor who was now behind Elder (at some point had moved from between White Man and Elder). He did and Elder felt good to support the next generation. 15-year old was not totally taking this in, but could feel his role in the family line. He still felt like he wanted to take action of some kind, but was able to stand there and also take this in. He was not looking at White Man, he was looking more at Fear (still a bit to the left of White Man). So that was, at least part of his focus. He did seem to feel strong now, and more heard.
Sadness/Grief (she had come in relatively early in the constellation but stood to the side and eventually behind the nauseous/weeping one. She did not ever feel or find a good place to be in all of this, and yet the grief was certainly present in the system.
We concluded the constellation here knowing there could be more, especially for the 15-year old and how he might truly take his position.
The Debrief/Processing Circle
This was very powerful and I did not catch it all. One on the rim very much felt the disconnect from her homeland, and remembered visiting the ancestral home/country, and feeling all of a sudden that she had really come home. That surprised her and the feeling and memory was strong even now. Seemed like an important piece for an immigrant culture with the United States/North America.
Another on the rim felt the need for the Children early on – what about the children in the tenements? She felt a lot of sadness and that they needed to be there. They did eventually show up through the nauseous/weeping/voices not heard, but maybe not quite the same as what she was feeling and sensing.
Another in the circle resonated with the Identity of Shame expressed in the constellation by the White Man. She definitely felt this in her as well as a white person herself.
Someone said the collective grief of the human species was very present in the system.
The one who had represented the 15-old boy felt that anger of “never again”. Also trauma, and “I won’t see you” to the Elder.
The ancestors’ representative who was connected early on to both White Man and Sioux Elder felt the connection to both holding the unified soul. She has also felt at times that she should speak but was not sure and so did not. Always sensing if it was needed.
This ancestors’ representative also felt the Beauty of each human in the constellation, they are each so beautiful and they forget they are beautiful.
It was also interesting that the resource for the Voices Not Heard, felt like saying some things at various times but did not. She began to feel like the People Who Stand by and Do Not Speak. She did not like that, felt the discomfort of that (or guilt?) but kept quiet. So seemed that was also being represented.
Some further observations, learnings, or things I want to understand more.
Realizing how immigrants to America have lost connection to their homeland and ancestors, and how the Native Peoples have also been losing their land connection due to the White Man’s continual taking it from them, moving and relocating them, or developing or desecrating their sacred sites, be it a pipeline or any kind of development. These seem related – the loss of ancestral land and connection to ancestors and now taking it away from those indigenous who were already here. It is like those wounded and feeling victimized in some way, seem to unconsciously victimize others with the very wounds they hold (and are unaware of). The White Man felt no guilt or remorse at all, no compassion until he connected with his ancestors and the homeland he had not known.
The rebelliousness or outrage in the 15-year old seems similar to what I see coming alive now in the younger people with the election of Trump. They are saying “no! We won’t let this happen. No More, you don’t see or understand us” (like in the 60’s). They seem to feel the older generations have let them down. Bernie Sanders spoke to them, but after that no one did. This 15-year old was likely the voice of the youth group/council at Standing Rock. They recently made it known that they were the ones who began the initiative to protect the water. That’s how the whole movement began.
It was a reminder from the one who was at first the Voices Not Heard, and then The Children, and then the 15-year old, that a representative is a vessel for the emotions represented, but not truly traumatized herself. I feel as a facilitator I always need to check that this is the case. So that no one re-traumatizes in the process. That is not good. And if that is happening, it needs to be addressed, maybe even by stopping the constellation until the person can be resourced or stabilized. Later I would also see the importance of being sure each de-roled. These elements being represented are large energies, holding a lot of history and trauma. That is very important as part of the closing of the constellation.
It was also interesting that the resource for the Voices that Could Not be Heard, revealed afterwards that she felt like saying some things at various times, but did not. She began to feel like the People Who Stand by and Do Not Speak. She did not like that, but kept quiet. So seemed that was also being represented; but unspoken. And that element is certainly part of this system.
I have felt for some time that healing for white people is essential in bringing healing into the larger system around so many issues. White people still have control and in this constellation the softening of the White Man and leaning on his ancestors and homeland was a healing movement and turning point.