So many things are rolling through our minds this month. I’m reminded of the epiphanies my sons had when they were young: when they first realized they could feel more than one emotion at a time, when they first learned how to use the word ‘bittersweet’ to describe a life transition, and about the intersectionality of our lives. Pride, Juneteenth, uncovering indigenous children at Boarding School sites – it is a lot to hold in our minds at one time.
It’s Pride month. An annual celebration born from acts of civil disobedience by members of the LGBTQI+ community, tired of being harassed, arrested and jailed by the police simply for being themselves. From large cities to small towns, Pride is celebrated to remember, lift up and show support for the lives and rights of the community – all communities – to be who they are and express themselves in the way that is most meaningful for them. You can check out the White House’s statement here.
This week, Congress passed legislation making June 19th (Juneteenth) a federal holiday. It took two years for news of the Emancipation Proclamation (passed in 1863) to reach the state of Texas – on June 19, 1865. As a nation, we are still unfinished in acknowledging the impact of slavery, understanding multi-generational traumas, and sometimes even accepting our nation’s history. We want the past to be kept in the past, but if we do that, we build and rebuild the same structural and systemic barriers to well-being and thriving that we had in that not so distant past.
It was a little over one year ago that North Sound partners came together to grieve, cry and rage over the death of Geroge Floyd, witnessed by all the world because a young person stepped forward and recorded those last minutes of his life. Imagine those minutes seared forever not only on her phone, but in her mind. It was and is beyond words. We stand in solidarity with those who fight oppression every day, wanting a better life.
Then this month, we experienced a new wave of grief and trauma. More than a thousand burial sites have been uncovered so far, most of them children, near Indian Boarding Schools in Canada and the U.S., and there are more discoveries to come. The People of the Salish Sea, which includes the tribes in our region, are connected to the tribes in Canada; their history and families are intertwined. We experienced a pause in the universe, for all of us to imagine what it is like to bring these children home, to have closure that has waited for 100 years or more. It is imperative that we learn the history of Indian Boarding Schools, in the U.S. and Canada.
Michaela Vendiola, Tribal Liaison on our team, pulled together a set of resources so that we could learn more, especially from tribal leaders and news sources. You can find those resources at this link.
Thinking back to my sons, learning to feel multiple emotions at the same time. We also can’t put things in a box, thinking we are separated by time or place. Events aren’t always long ago or far away if we agree that we are all connected to each other. Our lives (and pasts) intersect and impact one another. North Sound ACH is committed to building a region – a community – where all people feel they belong, and have the tools and resources to thrive and experience well-being.
We are honored to have tribal partners who are teaching us ways to bear witness, and join in the healing, and that so many of you are with us on this journey. It is a rich one with amazing partners, teaching and learning together.
In gratitude –