Terese Marie Mailhot: Native women can heal from our trauma

Terese Marie Mailhot. Photo from Facebook

Writer Terese Marie Mailhot (Seabird Island Band) shares her story as part of her journey of healing:
Recently I decided to be unabashedly honest about this trauma: my mother made mistakes, loved the wrong men, learned from it, and now we’re all still healing. Even in death, I feel my mother’s spirit journey with me while I reconcile with the very real pain of what I witnessed.

With our voices we can heal. I encourage any Native woman who witnessed abuse to not feel cliché, or undone by the trauma. What you witnessed was common, but also individual. Your pain is something to own, to journey through, and voicing the truth of your journey can heal the generation before you.

My counselor, a rather hokey woman, forced me to cry for the first time about the sexualization I experienced as a child. I came to her afraid to breathe. She said, “Terese, what will happen if you breathe?” I told her I would cry. “So cry,” she said. For the first time in my life I found myself weeping, grieving for my own childhood.

The next step was reconciliation. She tapped my kneecaps, one after the other. My eyes moved like a pendulum. She had me remember a safe place in my mind which was the corn stalks outside my childhood home. I remembered the place, a place where wild dogs run now. My childhood home: 40 acres of corn, blueberry bushes, healing wild strawberries and plum trees. She told me to go there every so often, to give levity to the very hard things I was dealing with: the past.

Get the Story:
Terese Marie Mailhot: Heal, Women and Sisters! You Are Not Alone! (Indian Country Today 1/10)

Join the Conversation