Intergenerational trauma: My mom and me-Part 2
How are you all doing? Well tonight I am writing part 2 of a story of intergenerational trauma and abuse. The story of the Red man. Who has agreed to share it with all of you. In the hopes, maybe, that it will bring awareness to the First Nations people. To the struggles they face, and have faced for a very long time. For example you ask? Well, the history of horrendous abuse in residential schools that deprived kids of their culture, language and identity. Which often led to adults with limited social and parenting skills, as well as difficulties passing the traditions over to their own children. The whole families and communities need help. Not just one individual, not just one child, their whole family. In order to heal the child, we need to heal the family and the community. So tonight, let’s look at part 2. If you have not read Part 1, I encourage you to do so, as I will be picking up where I left off. Just want to warn that it might not be an easy read.
The one night in Moccasin Flats and the chaos that followed
So I believe we left it off here as the Red man was talking about his time with his mother:
Well, one day and one night, that is how long we all lived together in our little house in Moccasins Flats. My mother went out that night and never came home. I was 5 years old and I was babysitting already. I had never been free of adults before, I had never been on my own. We woke up early in the morning and my mother was MIA. But at the time we really did not care as we got to play with all the little children in the neighborhood. I got to play with the little boy who became one of my best friends that day.
That carefree attitude was short-lived as when two of my aunts came snooping around, we knew it was all over. The troops showed up soon afterwards. My kokum and her minions, my aunts and uncles. I heard a barrage of obscenities all directed at my mother and a firm affirmative “I told you so”. Rage in rage out, she looked like a monster breathing hatred in and out. I felt something had changed as I could feel a sense of hurt emanating from her core. She thought that I had betrayed her and she knew I knew it and everyone else knew it too. There were a lot of people in the house but my kokum was the only person talking and the only one I was looking at.
“Dirty rotten son of bitches, they are all going to rot in hell. I am calling the welfare and he will be put in foster care. He will be better off living with white people. Go find that dirty rotten whore!” There were at least 10 children under the age of 10 and at least 8 or 10 adults, aunts and uncles and a boyfriend of one of my aunts. The children huddled in the living room crying. The thought of me being sent to a foster home and the terror of my kokum’s rage made the group of us kids hold each other for protection. The image of a car advertisement flashed in my mind, as it was my only reference to what white people were and looked like. A man in a suit, a woman in a dress and two little children standing next to their parents. The thought of leaving my cousins, uncles, and especially my aunts who showed me so much love, to leave them forever would be a nightmare. “They will take you away and nobody will ever see you again. Go find that whore”. Let’s imagine being 5 years old for a moment and hearing all of this coming from the person who we trust and love. The thought of losing everything he knew. I can picture him in the corner not moving, holding his breath.
And then they found her and it got worse…
So a posse of my uncles and aunts left and seemed to be gone for only a few minutes. When they came back, they had my mother with them. She kicked, she screamed and hollered like a wild animal. “Ooooch, no, help me, don’t, help me!” She was ushered into her bedroom, arms and legs tied to the old iron bed frame. Mary was stripped naked and tied to her bed. My kokum left the bedroom and returned holding a big butcher knife. Mary must have seen the huge blade in her hand as she walked back into the bedroom. “Noooooo, nooooo!” she screamed wildly. My own body went numb, as terror left me frozen in my place among my terrified circle of children. My eyes were riveted and I could not look away from the bedroom.
“Smack smack, noooooo, help meeeee!” Mary screamed as the blade of the knife slapped her bare skin. “In the name of the Lord, I________you” said the mad woman matter of factly (he does not remember the exact work his kkokum said in that sentence). “Get me the holy water” “Nooooo!” Mary shrieked, as if the holy water was somehow poisonous and harmful. I am going to stop right there as I think I gave you a good idea of what I witnessed at an early age. I have seen the mad man firsthand. No words can really describe such trauma. I know he is leaving some of the story, the details out. Because it would be too much to read and too much to relive. Living it once at the age of 5 was enough. But in order to heal he also has to let it out, to let the story, the words, the feelings out. And all the memories recorded in his body. See this post in which I discuss the concept of body memory.
And my kokum became mom
As a little boy I felt guilty for what happened to my mother. When she was untied, we left together. And she actually took me with her when she went to live with her new man. That only lasted a few days as my step-dad hated me instantly. “I want to go home” I cried. And my kokum came to pick me up asap. When we sat alone that day in the kitchen she said “that pig only thinks with her pussy. You might as well call me mom”. And from that day and on I called my kokum mom.
I will later share a few more horrific stories of my childhood with you all. You might hate my kokum for what she did to all of us and she did do a lot. But my intention is to show you why she did what she did. To understand why. There are two sides to every coin, two sides to every story and sometimes strength can be achieved through a treasure of pain and weakness. I do want to share those stories as they are the example of how our people were taught to treat each other by the very people who were there “to save their soul”. If the stories are too much for you to stomach, I understand.
It is really important for the Red man for you readers to know that he loved his kokum. He loved her very much. But also hated what she would do at times. That dichotomy, the love-hate relationship is still present in him. It is hard to accept that someone we love so much we can also hate at times. But that is present in many Native families. Because what was the alternative? Going to foster care? Although the Red man used to pray that he would be rescued by “nice white people” as a kid, it is also something he feared so much. Is taking the kid away from his family, his community, what he knows, his culture, the best? Or is healing the community and supporting the family better?
Where do we go now?
I want to transform the garbage that I grew up with into a treasure. I have no choice, that is just the way I am. I was born and raised to fight and fight is all I do. Sometimes to heal, you first have to feel the hurt (yours and others’). I would hope that I can give you enough truth to do something good for all the little bastards like me. As there is a little bit of me in every little bastard I see.
I think the ultimate goal of the Red man (and mine too I would say) is to help those kids, by not only helping them individually but also helping the families. By supporting them and helping them heal. As he said before, we will heal together or we won’t heal at all.
There you have it , another piece of the story. What did you think of part 2? Comment below 🙂
All my Relations