Native "Gifts"

The Native Liberation Workshop in Bellingham, Washington, USA last November (led by Marcie Rendon) was great! I learned that much of what Native people have to work on is the same as everyone else: early sexual memories, early memories of abandonment, parenting issues, etc. We also worked on: assimilation, violence, having survived attempted genocide, stereotypes of Native culture (for example, warrior stigma-Indians aren't "inherently" warriors; it came out of a need to survive), and loss of language.

Some useful directions were saying a single word of Native language (for people who are not fluent) and discharging on it. Also using Native songs. The majority of the workshop was basic RC, since many of the people attending were new and had not had a fundamentals class.

Marcie is an excellent leader. If you get a chance, go to a workshop with her. There were twenty women at the one in Bellingham, and she did a great job leading and staying on a respectful peer level with everyone. An idea for developing our allies was presented: take them to places sure to push their buttons and counsel them afterwards. I don't know how to make use of this idea quite yet, but it'll come.

A neat thing about being with that group of women was the way they are in the habit of passing out time as little gifts to each other. Spontaneous sessions happened all over the place. Sometimes an individual would go up to another and "gift" her with five minutes. Nobody turned down an opportunity to be listened to. I practiced being brave enough to do the offering myself-it was very fun. It became a way of getting to know people and cutting past the "polite chatter" exchange that was always trying to get a foothold.

Candyce Henkelman
Anchorage, Alaska, USA



Last modified: 2016-08-22 02:11:22-07