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Repairing our Past, Present and Future

A little recap about our latest adventure at the Indigenous Day Festival at Pakhuis de Zwijger. Navaya was invited to share her vision about Intergenarational Trauma at a sold out venue.... For all the people who missed it and want to know what our vision is. What to say? Read all about it. Let us know what you think about this topic.

12th of October 2022

"Welcome everyone. I am super grateful you are all here today. That you choose to spend your time with me.

Everyone please relax. Put your feet on the floor. Your backs against your seats. Close your eyes. Now take a deep breath in and hold in for a second and then release your breath. Let your day and how it was replay in your mind. How you got to this moment right now. Maybe you came with some friends or family, by car or bike or public transportation. See how you came into this space and think about all the faces you already saw coming in. Keep breathing deeply all the way to your stomach. A full body breath. Fill your whole body with oxygen. Hold it for three seconds and let it go.

Now open your eyes again and take a look around in the space. Really try to make contact with all the different people you are sharing this space with. Look each other in the eye and say hello. Make the connection.

Now close your eyes again and take another deep breath. And in your mind please answer the next question.

What do you feel you need to heal. For yourself. Personally. What is it you feel that you need?

Again, welcome everyone. My name is Navaya and I have made it my life's work to unpack and find ways to move out of / heal different kind of trauma. Today we are discussing inter generational trauma.

I have been thinking, dreaming and discussing this night for the last few days, honestly really thinking about it, this topic, this theme has been in my life since for ever. Lets start at the beginning. My hermana Chau who is one of the founders of this amazing event asked me to come here tonight and to discuss and explain a few things about intergenerational trauma. We had a conversation about what indigenous liberation means and how we want to move in the future.

I remember that I told her I don't know if you have the right person for what you guys are doing. Then I got invited to join a brainstorm session about this event, I joined and once again I told the people present, I don't think you have the right guy for the job. I told them this literally. But after a little while I got invited again to join the founders in a meeting about the possibility of me speaking at the event. Again I asked them, are you really sure you want me to come and speak? And again they said yes. So now here we are. Let me tell you why I was so doubtful about me being invited here.

I am not an activist, I don't profile myself as a person on the frontlines trying to take down the man. I am not a public speaker either. I have been doing the work with my own tribe for years though. The work of breaking ancestral curses etc. working with plantmedicine, working with our New Native traditions and teaching about the cognitive parts of healing. We have been doing it for years and I know that my vision about this topic is not really popular in all of my community. So imagine my surprise when Arturo was texting me last week saying your talk is sold out and there are 70+ something people coming to hear you speak. Fuck.

So when I finally sat down the last few days to write my talk, this workshop, I kept getting stuck. I can explain to you what the definitions of these terms mean. I can show you how these things manifest etc. I could do a whole TedTalk about this and you would be satisfied. In the days before tonight I was with my love and we had conversations about why this talk felt so important to do, finally it hit me.

The reason I was so sceptical about these great people inviting me to speak is because what I came here to do is maybe not what the elders will agree upon. My vision may not be the most common or the most easy to digest. So out of my own insecurities and issues I am used to making myself small and don't speak my truth. But they kept inviting me and all of you showed up so the next part, is on you.

My vision about intergenerational trauma is the following. I believe that it is a hyped word and that our communities are hiding in victimship around this term. When I look around I see a lot of resentment, blame and anger towards others. I see the repetition of stories that are not mine and being used. I see that our communities keep fighting an invisible enemy. Let me be clear, I mean no disrespect, I understand and I am aware that a lot of bad shit happened and is still happening to our community today.

But a lot of it is not mine to carry. I am the new generation and I am New Native. I was forced to migrate because of the colonial history of my birthland. I was raised, barely by a couple of white people in the whitest place on earth. Believe me I understand as an indigenous queer woman of color what it means to be a part of a minority. But this is a label that the world around me put on me. This is not how I necessarily identify. So here comes the reason why and maybe also the cosmic joke of it all. Because I was afraid to come and speak not necesarally because I was afraid that I was gonna fuck up, but more because I was afraid of what kind of wave I would create by sticking my head out above the crowd. Me constantly doubting and questioning if these people really asked the right guy for the job.

Ok... Let’s get into it.

Now one of the ways that I love to work is by getting everyone on the same page. It is necessary, essential that we all know what we are talking about. Because life can be so messy and miscommunications are a thing. So one of the ways I personally navigate through life is by looking for the truest defenition of the words we use.

Not to control or manipulate the vision, but it's my love language to make sure I feel good and resonate with the story/ with my narative.

So what do the words Intergenerational trauma literally mean:

Inter generational meaning: from generation to generation.

Trauma meaning: the physical and/or emotional reaction to an event.

Inter generational trauma : trauma that extends extendedfrom one generation to the next. Trauma that is being passed down, from elder to child.

If we break this down this means that a bunch of shit happened even before I was born, I have to deal with.

Let's start by exploring how it is being passed down.

Trauma gets passed down by the repetition of behaviour and this same behaviour is then mirrored from generation to generation aka storytelling. It is as simple as that.

These kinds of actions will have an impact on our neurological development. Meaning, trauma affects our brain, our DNA sequences and even affects our limbic system.

And one of the, I find, maybe most fascinating parts in this, is that a lot of the time it is not the trauma itself that has this major impact. But it’s the way we deal with the things that happen. But I will come back to this.

Let us bring some science into this game. There is no specific diagnosis for inter generational trauma. Let me repeat that. There is no specific diagnosis for inter generational trauma. How come the symptoms are being recognized and aknowledged but the story is not being put together within a diagnosis?

We have to look at two things to start with. First is: How did we come to this term?

Second is: What does inter generational trauma look like? How does it manifest?

First of all: Well actually the term inter generational trauma was first recognized in 1966 because of a study about distressed childeren of holocaust survivors. How did they figure it out? They found that a large group of these children were showing similar symptoms like: Mood issues, anxiety, depression and similar mental health issues. So that is how it seems to manifest. How it seems to look.

Is the transmission of trauma possible? And if so, can it be proven?

We now can say that trauma does in fact change our DNA, meaning; our genetics are being altered by trauma. Or! The way we deal with trauma alters our genetics.

I am a big fan of science. Science doesn't seem to have a big ego. Science is like, “Here I found this thing interesting and now I wrote some statements about it, now go on and prove me wrong. All for the sake of evolution”. Now like I said this is the same reason, why I look for definitions and sequences to understand and to feel some kind of anchor in my place in the world.

Us humans have this amazing neurologically wired thing that's called, linear thinking ability. That means I know the difference between, then, now and later. This helps me to determine my place in the world. This is really important for me as a human, because of the same reason we invented time. If we didn't everything would happen at the same time. Poof explosion. Implosion, we need the variables not only to exist but mostly to evolve.

So what is the complication with the term we are working with today? And how come we have difficulty moving in this?

Well here come the bitter pills.

Scientifically speaking, inter generational trauma is not recognized as an specific diagnosis. We do recognize that passing down of trauma is being done by nothing less then storytelling.

And we also don't recognize that the power of storytelling is so big, that it can even alter our DNA sequences, by the manifestation of behaviour. With the amazing result, of impacting not only a family but an entire community.

So for the next part I am going to make a statement. If you agree with the statement I will ask you to stand up. To rise.

I know, I feel that there is a way out of what we now know inter generational trauma is. I might not know how yet, but I know now that there is a way out. That we can heal!

If you agree, stand up.

Now look around the space and look at the community you find yourself in. All these people, we are in agreement. We are getting out of this traumatising storytelling extravaganza. Now I will tell you exactly how we can get out of it.

Close your eyes and take a deep breath…. And let me take you back to the first 5 minutes of our time together where I asked you the question…..

What do you feel you need to heal…..

You will find that one specific thing, your need in the people around you. We heal in community. We need safe spaces. Find yours. We need acknowledgement for all that has been done in the name of kolonialism. And we need to take accountability for the stories we tell ourselves and the next generation.

There is only one enemy, and that is our own limited thinking.

So now I finally understood that you guys did invite the right guy for the job.

Because I am here to put everyone in the right place and to wake everyone up. We need to take accountability for our own part of this story.

I am asking you; What kind of story will you tell? How will you change your narrative? How will you actively heal yourself and by that healing, your family, your tribe, your community? Go back into your own roots and start to learn about the medicine of your ancestors, about the magic of your roots. And start to blend with different communities that want to create the same healing as you do".

Mic drop. Peace pipe drop. Medicine drop.

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