Page 11 - Chehalis Tribal Newsletter - October 2015
P. 11
Awareness walk continued from Page 1 dream that came to an Elder about the nettle Each step
plant. In the story there were warriors that came was a prayer
Guest Speaker, by canoe to pillage the coastal tribes.  When the for many who
Roger warriors would arrive everyone would hide in participated
Fernandez, fear. The Elder dreamed that they should all use in the suicide
Lower Elwa, the nettle plant, through eating, as a medicine
shared a few and making items for strength. The next time prevention
stories with the warriors came elders, adults and children walk.
the audience stood shoulder to shoulder on the shore singing
at the Suicide their song of strength based upon their use of she began to heal from the traumas leading
Prevention the nettle.  The warriors came in and approached her to the destructive behavior. However, she
Awareness. the shores where the people stood.  However, also learned that she could have done better
when they saw that the people were not afraid with someone from the same background and
The purpose of this event is to bring awareness anymore, they realized they could not succeed experiences. Therefore, she started her education
to the problem of suicide within our communities and they turned their canoes around and retreated. and eventually she became a part of a developing
and to provide potentially lifesaving insight and One thing we can take away from the story is program for those women, with the belief that
resources to community members. It is also a that together as a nation, we are stronger.  We are being able to share and talk about your story was
time to remember those lost to suicide. The best never alone to handle what life can throw at us.  important to healing.
thing is to bring attention to the cause is to talk Through this he clarified that the community can
to each other and to learn how to recognize the come together and must. He noted you cannot After we all heard Caroline’s story and message,
warning signs of someone who is in need of help. just hire a chemical dependency person or a Charlene Abrahamson, Director of Tsapowum,
mental health person and then expect them to Chehalis Tribal Behavioral Health, offered the
We were lucky to have two speakers grace us take care of it all – we still must work together to microphone to anyone who would like to share
with their presence this year. Before the meal, care for one another. any stories, thoughts or reflections. Some people
we heard from storyteller Roger Fernandez, who attended from the Squaxin Island Tribe,
a member of the Lower Elwha Band of the   Paula Henry and Dodie Nelson, who six weeks
S’Klallam Indians. He shared a few stories with Before lunch a prayer was offered by Diana ago lost their daughter and sister respectively to
us. The first was a Cherokee legend about little Pickernell to protect and to give each other suicide spoke to the room. It was not easy for
Rabbit who sang a song that was in his heart, strength and in gratitude for the people who assist them, as they were still very emotionally raw
even when no one wanted to listen to him. The others.  As we all ate our lunch and reflected on and reeling from their loss. We were all very
other animals realized that no matter what they Roger’s wonderful stories, we listened to the grateful to them for being able and willing to
did to Rabbit, they could not silence the song second speaker of the afternoon, Caroline Antone, share their experience and heart with us and what
that was coming from his heart. As a group we from Arizona and a member of the Tohono they learned. Their strength and ability to share
discussed why Roger had chosen to tell that story. O’odham Nation.  She shared heartfelt accounts while still suffering was their gift and blessing to
We decided that the moral was that if something of her own life and experiences with addiction, those in attendance, as they wanted to do what
comes from our heart, no one can take it away depression, both abuse as a child and domestic they could to prevent others from going through
from us. We also understood from the story that abuse in adulthood, culminating her own suicidal the same pain. One of the main things they noted
when trying to solve a problem, we must listen to thoughts that resulted from these experiences was how honesty, listening and being heard are
everyone in the community for their input, even and the corresponding addiction.  She explained powerful tools. They were wrapped in a blanket
the smallest members. how the things that happened to her during by the community as a small thanks.
  her childhood affected her in her adulthood
He also told a story about “Little Nettle.” Roger and as a parent to her own children. She led a A suicidal person may not ask for help, but that
mentioned that back then, coastal people didn’t life of addiction trying to run away from these doesn’t mean that help isn’t wanted. Most people
experience the level of disease that we do today childhood traumatic events.  Her alcoholism and who commit suicide don’t want to die—they just
due to their natural healthy lifestyle and eating severe depression lead her to eventually giving want to stop hurting. Suicide prevention starts
what nature provided up her legal rights to her children, knowing that with recognizing the warning signs and taking
for its people. Roger she was not able to provide a safe and stable them seriously. If you think a friend or family
explained the many home for them. After this, she felt so lost, that member is considering suicide, you might be
benefits that the plant she became suicidal, and was trying to end her afraid to bring up the subject. But talking openly
can provide.  This life using her alcoholism, drug addiction and about suicidal thoughts and feelings can save a
story was about a by allowing herself to continue to be physically life.
abused by her partners.
Guest speaker, ~ Suicide Hotline ~
Caroline Antone, These ordeals landed her in the hospital several
Tohono O’odham times, then she started accepting help from a If you are having suicidal thoughts please read
Nation shared her counselor. Through therapy she realized that Suicide Help or call 1-800-273-TALK in the
heartfelt account she wanted to survive! It was a lot of work, U.S.! To find a suicide help line outside the U.S.,
but as she went through sharing her history
of her own life. visit IASP or    Page 11
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