Sometimes the truth is difficult to face and it requires we possess a level of heroic courage to admit that our life choices are damaging, not only to ourselves, but to others as well. Levina Wilkins, whose Native name is Kusumwhy (sp?), gained the courage to admit to the challenges she had created in her life, and then committed to a more positive lifestyle. Her strategy was to educate herself to understand how historical trauma affected her life, and the lives of those around her. With that understanding Wilkins was able to turn her life around, resulting in good things for those around her. Her tribal background includes (Soluskin? And Smarlowitz?).
Wilkins shares how historical trauma resulted in a loss of identity for generations of Native people. Stories from her boarding school experience resonate with the feeling of loss — loss of home, of culture, and of her beloved family. Being raised with the forced identity of boarding school resulted in Wilkins assuming some negative roles along life’s way. Finding her way back to her Native roots, Levina now knows that the true self is the one that lives within. It’s from our past, from a much healthier bloodline. Sometimes we must sift through a lot of dysfunction to find the traditional self.
“They have to rediscvoer themselves . . . find out what their problems is. And they have to learn to love themselves again.”