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Levina Wilkins

Lesson 3 – Hero’s Journey

Goal: This lesson assists the young and older adult in understanding the steps of healing through review of Grandmother Levina Wilkins life story and the application of the Hero’s Journey.

Activity: We will review Video #1 and identify the steps of change that she took in her healing from domestic violence and alcohol abuse.

Part 1: Review of the Hero’s Journey

Part 2: Utilizing Video #1, we will watch and listen to Grandmother Levina Wilkins’ story. We will review her story to understand more about growing up in the 1940’s as an Indian and what it means to grow up as an Indian today.

Part 3: Each participant shares of an aspect of Grandmother Wilkins’ story that they can relate to and an idea of what step of the Hero’s journey that may apply to themselves.

Part 1: Identity: A path to understanding

The Hero’s Journey

Life is change. Often times the change in our lives seem random and unpredictable. People are often stuck in a circumstance they seek to change, but are unclear as to how to even begin or understand that the change they seek is a struggle they must prepare for.

Our ancestors understood human life changes and explained them through stories we call the Hero’s Journey. This universal story tells how a human being transforms from one level of development to a higher level; how a human transforms from a young person to an adult; how a person must struggle to make this transformation. These stories then become a guide to understanding how positive change occurs in our lives.

The Hero’s Journey has five steps of change:

  1. The story begins with a person who is an orphan; or someone who feels like an orphan; alone, separate, different, and misunderstood.
  2. The orphan begins to wander, hoping they might find answers.
  3. As the orphan wanders, they meet people and learn to care more for the others than they do for themselves.
  4. The person on the journey must now meet a challenge.
  5. The Hero, having met the challenge, returns to where they started as a new person and they bring back a gift to their people.

The Elder

The Elder helps the person on their journey. The Elder has taken the journey before and wants to help and instruct the Hero. They tell them what words to say, what paths to take, etc. They are a guide and a teacher.

Part 2: Grandmother Wilkins and the Hero’s Journey

Grandmother Wilkins

In the Hero’s Journey, the Orphan feels alone.

In the Hero’s Journey, the Wanderer is searching.

In the Hero’s Journey, the Caretaker begins to care.

In the Hero’s Journey, the Warrior meets a challenge.

In the Hero’s Journey, the Changer shares a gift.

Please share what you think what steps in the Hero’s Journey fit Grandmother Wilkins’ statements?

Grandmother Wilkins Statements Hero’s Journey
Poked fun of because of how I dressed and how I combed my hair
I didn’t know what they would be talking about
I was supposed to been dressed like everybody else
Kids would be laughing
We cater to white trade only
I didn’t want to be there to be made fun of
Grandmother displayed strength
I felt inadequate you know because of how we were talked down to and treated
Sneak out anyways
Started drinking
Get out of my family’s sight so they couldn’t see me and what I’m doing
My sisters met death because of alcoholism
I worked two jobs
I’m addicted to alcohol
In the end I had eleven children
Because everybody else on the reservation was doing it
Drinking was the norm
So I lost three girls in one year.  Three of my girls I raised and one grandson.
I dropped out and went into depression
I’m not going to work
I’m not going to school
I’m not doing anything
I’m feeling sorry for myself
I couldn’t talk to nobody
I couldn’t bring my hurt out to anybody else
I went back to school
I can take care of it myself
I can do this myself
I couldn’t resolve this by myself
But I had gone to my brother and told him what my situation was.
I went and bought groceries for my kids.
I applied for a counseling job

1)   Please name one aspect of Grandmother Wilkins’ story that you can relate to.

2)   Do you see any part of yourself or something that you have done that is an orphan, wanderer, caretaker, or warrior?