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Monthly Archives: October 2013

 

And everyone knows the rest of the phrase: “…is a DEAD INDIAN.”

This was the curse that was thrown at Comanche Chief Toshaway in 1869 by oie_transparentGeneral Philip Sheridan. Of course, General Sheridan denied ever saying that insult and historians say he actually said: “The only good Indians I ever saw were dead.” Somehow it’s difficult to see any difference.

This curse was handed down the generations to a little girl named Jeanne. Her mother had passed as a white person because she was deeply ashamed of her Indian heritage. So ashamed she cut off ties to her large Indian family and Jeanne was raised without a grandmother, grandfather, aunts or uncles. Other children had relatives, but Jeanne did not and she had no knowledge she was Indian.

Jeanne’s mother was deeply unhappy. She finally found a specialist who told her she had symptoms of “shell shock.” As we know today, that’s an old term for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Unfortunately, nothing was done for her and it was passed down to Jeanne.

My book is the story of Jeanne’s quest for her hidden heritage, for the basis of her own PTSD and finally God sent her on a search for her Indian soul.

And that is why the sub-title of my book is: “PTSD: A Native American’s Story of Survival”

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The author is an 81 year old Native American Elder registered with the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians in Wisconsin. Her autobiography can be obtained @

                                                                  SBPRA.com/Ronnie/Fellows

                                                                         $13.97 – 136 pages

From the Author: I put up this page first of all to sell my book – but more than that – I wanted to set up an area  where it was possible to dialogue/blog with those interested or affected with PTSD. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can be literally a Killer – a painful executioner pointing the way towards what it says is the “only way out: DEATH!”  Too many service men and women are heeding the call of this imposter…who speaks to anyone listening to the Call when in deep Pain.

As a Native American, I understand from experience that PTSD can be transmitted to the next generation and to anyone involved emotionally with those who have developed the trance called PTSD. Please click on the following to learn more….

  PTSD and Marijuana                         PTSD and Generational Transmission

PTSD and War               Vicious Circles to Healing Circles                       Restorative Practices

                                                EMAIL:  ronnieastrala@yahoo.com

 I just found the most remarkable Native American website with an even MORE remarkable video by a group of Native Americans who speak of their legacy. It’s very moving – Be prepared:

              THEWHITEBISON.ORG – the video is THE WELLBRIETY jOURNEY TO fORGIVENESS

                     found at the bottom of the web page – just scroll down. 

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Viewing “THE WELLBRIETY JOURNEY TO FORGIVENESS” brought tears seemingly from my toes….the tears were DEEP!

Man’s inhumanity to Man can bring (among other intense feelings) astonishment that the white man could be so completely unconscious – certainly without pity or any of the Christian traits of kindness, caring, or reaching out to  other humans who are in Pain. But then – come to think of it – there are a great many now who view the Brown skin of the South American women and children as undeserving of anything except scorn.

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I have fought with myself at length about how much more I should post to this blog. Actually the “fighting” is with my tribe and all entities who would tell me and people like me to NOT TALK!! And then I realize (as I talk back to the Shaming Bully in my head) I have GOT To Do This for every person who is hurting because they are unable to be themselves totally and completely – to all those who are held back by shame – feeling POWERLESS ….and FEAR so BIG it’s a smothering cloud that you try to SHOUT AROUND !!

My tribe refused to review my book or accept advertising for my book in it’s tribal paper. I tried to contact others in the tribe for an explanation but no one would answer me. They would rather not talk about “it”- If we talk about “IT” – then we would have to do something about “IT”! But the more we don’t talk about “IT” the bigger, fatter and stronger the “IT” becomes! “IT” WILL be recognized!! As long as “IT” stays in the closet “IT” undermines everything we do. It infects how we think, how we act, how we experience the world  we live in. 

So now I’m going to talk about “IT”….without self-censoring for fear of hurting tribal members I don’t know – and YES! – it’s always difficult to talk down the inner shame that IS NOT MINE!

I had no sense of Power against my grandfather (I was five years old) when he came into my bed in the middle of the night and fondled me sexually. I knew I could not tell my mother. I had no sense of Power against my mother when she screamed at me, washed my mouth out with soap, gave me enemas, whipped me with a straightened wire hanger, screaming all the while that I was the worst child she had ever known and “You better not cry or I will REALLY whip you!!” I was old enough to know I had done nothing wrong -therefore my mind told me that she probably DID know that I was basically bad because she didn’t love me and only a really bad person could not be loved by their mother. And I believed that – there was no one around me who would explain that my mother was a really sick person and I was not to blame. I buried all that deeply out of sight and mind (I thought) because it was unbearable to contemplate.

I was in my seventies before I was able to unlock that place within me that held all the pain and look at it with some detachment. The intervening years were simply filled with methods of coping. My children were a help inasmuch as they allowed me to love them and they loved me back – I was so amazed and grateful when I realized the bonding when my first child calmed at my touch and hugged and kissed me in return.  I was so desperate for Love…and because I was desperate – it never appeared – except for my children. 

The years of “coping” were exactly that – I fought feelings of suicide that were so painful that only my children kept me here – I could not hurt them. Depression was almost always with me to a more or less degree. I was unstable in my work…unable to find any but the most boring bookkeeper jobs that I hung onto because I had to feed my children. There was no such thing as food stamps….they sometimes went months without milk that I couldn’t afford to buy. I divorced their father whose addiction to alcohol and gambling made the marriage impossible.

As I write this, I find myself alternating between anger and depression. Unstable again. ..but then –  I broke the “rule” – the “shaming rule” – the one that says “Don’t Talk about “It!I Because you probably deserved “It “! And no good will come of “It!”

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I feel restored, rejuvenated, and redeemed by the acknowledgement written in Pro Publica “THE PTSD Crisis That’s Being Ignored: Americans Wounded in Their Own Neighborhoods” by Lois Beckett. It seems that researchers have found that people who live in the inner cities such as Chicago, Atlanta, Baltimore, Newark, Memphis exhibit the same ptsd symptoms as veterans – sometimes as many as 48% show symptoms. PTSD can lead to violence in many cases (ALL the cases I’m personally aware of) and this in turn makes a vicious cycle of violence. Children are impacted by gun violence – almost every inner-city child has viewed or been involved in domestic violence, gang violence, neighborhood violence, etc. School for them is simply another arena for violence.

The experts don’t really know what to do for it –  they’ve hired staff where they can – but the funds are almost non-existent to find for PTSD therapy. Well meaning folks who have never suffered thru PTSD but nevertheless received a degree for treating/understanding it, frequently, unknowingly, exacerbate the symptoms.

I want to thank the journalist Lois Beckett…this subject more than anyone is aware of at the present NEEDS TO BE TALKED ABOUT!!!!  And I’m going to be talking!!!!!