Healing means the trauma is over.
Healing means justice has happened.
Healing means a return to wholeness.
There is a disturbing phenomenon happening in the U.S.—a country in need of great healing—wherein the word “healing” has become politicized.
This politicization was likely first noticeable to most of the populace when President-Elect Joe Biden won the election and he began calling for unity and healing. However, it is important for all of us to understand that the “healing” he is calling for is an artificial reconciliation.
There is still a war on brown and Black people in the United States. Therefore, healing resulting in the forms of true peace and harmony is not yet possible. Casualties of this war are the Native and Black people who continue to be murdered by the state, by police officers; the thousands of Indigenous women and girls who continue to go missing and or who are murdered (MMIWG); and most recently the numerous brown and Black people who are dying due to COVID-19 at much higher rates than the privileged population—these higher COVID mortality rates (Native Americans being the highest) due to, of course, economic and health disparities in our communities which in turn are results of stolen land, stolen people for purposes of labor, and the damage that these historical traumas have had on our hearts, minds, bodies, and souls.
When President Donald Trump, whose leadership has promoted and even depended on racial hate, calls for healing and reconciliation after inciting an insurrection wherein white people stormed the U.S. Capitol building, waving the confederate flag, the word “healing” has very little to no meaning. Until these injustices are acknowledged and dealt with, there can be no healing.
When a blunt force trauma happens to a human body, the body cannot heal until the bleeding and the assault has stopped. America has not stopped the assault nor the bleeding.
The National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition (NABS) has been advocating for truth, healing, and justice since its inception. We know that healing begins with the truth, and without justice harms will continue.
So, here is what healing requires.
Healing requires that we acknowledge the harm, the injustices, and what those who have benefited from the injustice have gained.
Healing requires that we transform the systems of inequity and oppression into systems of equity and liberation AND abide by the promise to do no further harm.
Once we change, then we can heal. In the meanwhile, healing requires us to stand up and work for what is right—we stand up for the truth and for justice.
On this the National Day of Racial Healing we are reminded that until we have justice, we can not rest. We cannot and we must not accept the lull of an artificial peace and harmony.
Miigwich (Thank You),
Christine Diindiisi McCleave (Turtle Mountain Ojibwe)