One of the things we discuss with women at the Inenimowin Circle and on Tuesday nights in Billings, Montana is that when abuse happens someone else has done something wrong and yet we feel illegitimate shame for it. We distinguish between legitimate shame when we have done something wrong, for which we need to repent and illegitimate shame that attacks our personal worth and tells us something not true and bad about who we are. Too many people bear scars of illegitimate shame.
During Inenimowin and weekly meetings in our community we talk about stories behind the scars. We talk about the emotions and the pain. We listen to women who have never told anyone before. We cry together and grieve. And we talk about a Friend who took up our pain, who bore our sorrow, who knew what it was to be innocent and to carry another’s shame, and who heals us by His wounds. By His grace, He is changing lives.
“I’ve been in and out of treatment centers, but I have never dealt with my childhood trauma. This came at just the right time for me,” states one woman during our meeting.
Above: Marc Salomé Levasseur receiving his certificate - with Patrick Brennan, Executive Director McGill’s Institute for the Study of International Development at McGill University.On October 26 to 30, one of our NAIITS students who is also an Indigenous Pathways board member, Marc Levasseur, had been invited to complete a special Executive Certificate on the subject of Reconciliation, conflict prevention and the promotion of a more inclusive society with the Institute for the Study of International Development at McGill University.
The background subject was the crisis that is facing the Canada in the relationship between indigenous and non-indigenous population and the need for reconciliation. Very strategic speakers and well-involved teachers came as Dr. Marie Wilson from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, the former Prime Minister Joe Clark and the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs of Quebec, Geoffrey Kelly only to name a few.
As discussed throughout the course, Christians who work to re-Indigenize their spirituality and fight back the assimilation that came within the Western Evangelization are part of the front line to work on the reconciliation throughout Canada. Reconciliation would not come with homogenization or assimilation of the Canadian or American society but through the acceptance of our diversity and one of them is well expressed in the Native Christianity.
Indigenous Pathways is one of the organizations who desire to see reconciliation coming. That certificate has also been a good moment of connection between our organization, McGill University and other participants.