Healing from Generational Trauma (with Jalynne Geddes)

Thu Feb 02 05:00:05 EST 2023
Episode 5

An indigenous teaching in many communities around the world is that in nature, poison is often located very near the antidote. For example, in Mayan legend, the Chechen trees have a toxic sap that causes rashes or burns when touched, but the Chaca trees grow nearby and provide an antidote. This idea of sting and relief can also be found in family histories. In this episode, artist Jalynne Geddes shares in her own life how generational trauma has been a sting and family history the relief.


Michelle 0:00

For today, we will be discussing residential schools and generational trauma. So I just wanted to give a trigger warning for anyone listening out there, that these will be the things we will be discussing today, and we send our love to you and our healing energy to you that will be with you during this time, whether you choose to listen or not. And we love you so much.

Okay, all coming close. I got a great story for you today. We are traveling to my beloved Mexico to the Yucatan Peninsula, and I'm going to tell you a story about these two brothers. One is named Kinich and the other is Tizic. Kinich had a kind, gentle heart, and his brother Tizic could not be more different--he was cruel and violent. And these two brothers, one day, they fell in love with a girl who had great comedic timing and could do complex math in her head, and she probably was also beautiful, but I digress. These two brothers fought to the death for the love of this maiden, and they both died. After their death, their souls entered into two trees: the Chaca tree and the Chechen tree. Kinich, the kind and gentle brother became the Chaca tree, whose sap, even today, is used medicinally and is healing. Tizic, the cruel and violent brother, entered into the Chechen tree, and his sap is considered a toxic poison and will literally burn your skin. It is so interesting that these two brothers from the same exact family could hold both the sting and the relief. This concept of sting and relief is an indigenous teaching that many indigenous communities have known about for centuries: that in nature, often the poison or the sting is located very near to the antidote--or the healing or the balm. And today, we're going to talk about sting and relief within our own family history trees.

Miya 2:11

You're listening to the Love Your Lineage podcast by LDS Living: a multifaceted, shame free approach to family history. I'm Miya.

Michelle 2:19

And I'm Michelle. And we want to help you find your space and claim your place in your family history story.

Miya 2:27

Thank you, Michelle, for sharing your story. I love the story so much, because it embodies this concept that we want to highlight today in our episode about pain and poison, or sting and relief being in our family histories. And like we've talked about in several episodes, we've discussed this concept of generational trauma, that those trauma can be passed on to us from generation after generation. But we want to highlight the hope that is available to everybody that relief is present, and oftentimes that healing can be found even in the same tree or trees next to each other like Michelle's story.

Michelle 3:09

Yes, Miya. And last time we talked with Dr. Ofa, about different tools and what those look like. But today, we're really going to focus on relief and what that can look like in our family history work.

Miya 3:20

Today we're so excited to have our special guest with us, Jalynne Geddes who has great insight as well as experiences and heartfelt stories that we would love to hear from her today, embracing this concept of sting and relief. So Jalynne, welcome to our show.

Jalynne 3:38

Thank you.

Michelle 3:39

This is actually we've known each other for quite a while now. But this is the first time we're physically in the same room together, and I can feel the lightning and I'm so excited.

Jalynne 3:48

I know. My spirit almost can't even like take it. I'm just like so excited.

Michelle 3:52

We would love to know more about who you are, like, professionally and then who you are family history wise. Could you share that with us?

Jalynne 3:59

Yes, I would love to. I'm from Beardy's and Okemasis' is Cree Nation, and that's a reservation in Saskatchewan, Canada. And I currently live in Portland, Oregon. I moved here for school in 2011, and I met my husband in 2012. We got married in 2013. We have two beautiful children: Desmond Nikamowin and Winifred Mahikanis Kari. I am an artist. I do beadwork, I hopefully infused with my Néhiyaw sensibilities. And Néhiyaw is what we call ourselves. Cree is the name that the settlers gave us, but we refer to ourselves as Néhiyaw, and so I hopefully I infuse my Néhiyaw sensibilities into my work, and it's work that I do for everybody. I used to work in accounting, my background is also in tourism. So I've done a wide variety of things before settling on my artistry and it's what I feel called to do the most.

Michelle 4:58

And I just want to say your beadwork is infused with your family history. It is so beautiful and moving. And I love watching you on Instagram with your, like the creative process and developing your designs and just your thoughts on beading. And that whole community is just really beautiful. So, so happy. But it's so interesting to have someone who was like a former accountant and an artist, because you just don't think of those two going together.

Jalynne 5:27

Oh, I mean, I wasn't meant for accounting, obviously. Now, we know,

Michelle 5:33

You briefly told us a little bit about your family history. But just, you grew up your whole life in Canada?

Jalynne 5:40

Yeah. So I could tell us more about that. Yeah. So I grew up on like I said, Beardy's and Okemasis' is Cree Nation--that's the reservation I'm from--and it's beautiful childhood. That is the reservation my dad is from, and my mom is from a reservation called James Smith, Cree Nation. And same tribe we're all Néhiyaw but their reservation's about maybe an hour and a half from one another.

Michelle 6:03

How did your parents meet?

Jalynne 6:05

They met at a powwow, and he I think he's actually shared this, I think on an on a podcast or an article for for LDS Living, that as soon as he saw her, like he was in love with her. And they've been together for I think 45 years. 45 years plus. Okay, yeah.

Michelle 6:27

And what about your mom? Was she like? You're okay.

Jalynne 6:31

No, I think it's fair to say that it was love for for both of them. Absolutely. But actually, they had connections before then because my mom was sent to the St. Michael's residential school. And she was there with my dad's siblings. And so she knew my dad's siblings before she ever met my dad. And so there's that kind of intersection of, they met at a beautiful cultural celebration. But like most family history, and a lot of communities like ours, they had that intersecting trauma. So she got to know a lot of his family, because of the residential schools; they were sent to the same place. They were stolen to the same place, I should say.

Michelle 7:14

Thank you so much for sharing that. And, you know, in 2021, I think is when a lot of us started hearing about residential schools, you know, outside of indigenous communities. Maybe people a lot of people didn't know, I'm really grateful that you're here today, and we're going to be talking a little bit about that, because it's definitely a trauma. It's definitely a sting. And it's definitely a part of family history. I think, you know, as Indigenous women--myself, I come from indigenous people, you and also Miya--when the news started breaking in the body count started going up in 2021, it did bring our minds to our family history and to our ancestors. And we like to think about family history work as being recipes and dancing and fun and which it is, it also is a very hard, dramatic thing to think on.

Miya 8:07

I want to ask a question. Okay. So, Jalynne, I'm interested to know, then how did you get involved with family history? Or when was it first introduced to you this concept of learning by your ancestors? When did that come about?

Jalynne 8:23

When I entered this world, I feel like. I feel like there was never a point in my life where the importance of our ancestors wasn't impressed upon me because of my parents. We grew up knowing what happened to my mom that she was stolen and taken to the residential schools. We grew up knowing where our last name came from. Michael, actually, isn't obviously isn't our real last name. I believe it was my great great grandfather was named Michael Bighead, and when he passed away one of his wishes was that we take his first name as our surname. I don't think he intended it to be assimilatory but it would help us assimilate more and help us to be accepted into mainstream society more if we didn't have the name, Bighead, which would, which is more identifiable as like an Néhiyaw Cree last name, which was the English translation of our family name Mikstikwanis which doesn't mean the size of your head; it means like he was a large figure in the community. And so Mikstikwanis is our real family name. I feel like it just came into the world knowing that I was touched by my ancestors, because I always knew the story of my last name. I always knew the story of my mom. I always knew the story of my grandparents. And so I feel like I came into this world, loving and knowing my family that I might not have even met.

Michelle 9:55

How so beautiful. Thank you for sharing that. I love hearing indigenous languages. And that was really beautiful. Thank you. So for this episode today, maybe we have more questions than answers. But I think in asking the questions, it helps us get on the road to finding answers. And so one of the first things I was thinking about what stinging relief was, is it possible to passively process grief and trauma? Because I've been trying to think about how do I process grief and trauma. At the time of this recording, it is June of 2022, and Miya and I were just discussing the last month with shootings and lots of really, really heavy things. How is it that we process trauma, trauma from the past trauma from the present? How do we process this? And I've been thinking back to my ancestors on how they process trauma. And I was like, most of it was pretty passive. There was a lot of alcohol in my own family that was used to get through the hard times. But is it possible to passively process trauma?

Jalynne 11:10

I think if you look around at the world that we created, there are many indicators that the things we try to do passively have harmed us societally. And so I think it's impossible to be passive about things that we need to be active about. And that's something that we've been talking about in my family, because we're a very open family. And we talk about the hard things. And we always have in with the residential schools, with the discovery of more and more graves of little children, and talking more and more about the abuse that my mom suffered, that my grandparents went through my aunts and uncles went through, what we're going through is needed, because you have to go through it in order to heal from it. And if you do that passively, then it's impossible, because you're not, you're not being actively engaged in your own healing process and you're not being actively engaged in the healing process to other people, and I think that's something in society we need is to look at the healing somebody else might need and think, "I want to be actively involved in their healing, too."

Michelle 12:23

And I love that you said the healing that someone else might need, because I've looked back, specifically at my ancestresses and all the trauma and pain that they went through, and they had no outlet to process that pain. They didn't have the words, it wasn't acceptable in, you know, good society to show those kinds of emotions. And so I had this realization, when I was in the car the other day, going to see my therapist, that I am the first person in generations that have access to therapy that have access to the language. I have a community of friends and family that love me that understand me and that I can process these hard things, even though they happened generations ago. And I think that's what's something that's really hard for us in doing family history work is that happened so long ago, let's move past it. You know, we hear those those terms all the time. But I think in this discussion, what we're talking about today that you can't passively move past things, you can't push them under the rug, they're going to come out.

That reminds me of this new development in my life is panic attacks, and I've never struggled with those before, and it's something new that I'm dealing with, and I've gotten a lot better. And I was talking to my mom, and she said, "My girl, is this because of me?" Because of her traumas because of the residential schools? And I said, "No. It's because of the world we live in." And I'm processing that intergenerational trauma in my own way, and I know anything that happened to my mom was not her fault. It's not my fault. And we are both still in charge of the healing. And we are, I don't want to say burdened with the healing. But that is our charge now and it's unfair, and it broke my heart to see my mom see my pain and feel responsible for it because she's not. And that's what I think about when you know, we think about intergenerational trauma and family history. It's not clean. It's not pretty. It's not. But it's there and it's ours to like I said, take charge of it and deal with.

You know, Jalynne, we've been seeing these these headlines for a while about residential schools and, through you, I have got to know both of your parents and they are just magical people. But I was wondering if you might be able to share a little more about personally, these headlines aren't just headlines for you. This is your family history. And when you see these headlines about these schools, what does that invoke in you, or how is that a part of your history?

Jalynne 15:25

So I was on the podcast, This Is the Gospel with Corrine Leigh. And back then it was before, like this horrific discovery of all of these graves. And on that podcast, I had mentioned that it is believed that 3000 children died at those schools. And then, like a couple of weeks later, I realized I read a study, and I'm like, Whoa, I said the wrong thing. It was more like 6,000. And now, with the discovery of all of these graves, the number is at 10,000 plus. And we have only looked at a small, small number of the amount of schools that there are to look at. And so the amount of graves that we're going to find is going to be astronomical. I don't know, if we're ready to really grapple with that. We already know it's there, but somehow hearing a concrete number makes it more visceral and more, like heartbreaking isn't even, right, it's like just crushing--soul-crushing. And knowing that they not only didn't have to die, but they didn't have to suffer, what they went through, like at the schools like there are so there's so much photographic evidence of the abuse that went on at the schools; there's pictures of children with their wrists tied up so that their hands are turning purple, because they weren't riding with the correct hand. We have a picture of my grandfather, Moshum Joe, with bruises on his face and scratches from being beaten. My mom has stories of being beaten for speaking our language. And that's one of the I think one of the most immediate repercussions of the residential schools is I don't speak my language. My mom, until recently, until just this trip home a few weeks ago, my dad didn't realize how much Cree how much Néhiyaw, my mom understood. That language is still alive in her. But that that was a consequence of the residential school, she wouldn't speak her language, and because of that, I don't speak my language. You know, there's an awful stereotype that, you know, of native people, indigenous people are alcoholics or whatnot. And that's a horrible stereotype. But in the families where that alcoholism is true, it's because of the residential schools. And so those are really real things that have lived, like, real consequences for us today, still, for my generation, for my children who also do not speak their language. Those are the kind of things that we are grappling with, and we have to somehow reconcile and move forward and heal from and I believe we can do it, I believe we can do it. It's just you know, it's gonna take the kind of work that needs all of us not just those who were in the schools; it needs all of us.

Michelle 18:41

It's going to take generational healing. Thank you, Jalynne for sharing. I just want to also mention that the abuse that took place in residential schools included all types of abuse, right? physical, verbal, emotional, sexual, and then cultural. I think about my that Totonaca ancestors. So they're from Veracruz, Mexico, which is the contact point of Cortes and right that's the first people that he came in contact with. And then, as the European colonization spread up through the Americas, the bodies in Mexico, of the children that died, whether disease or abuse, those bodies probably won't ever be found; the time has passed. And so when you were talking about all the bodies, I just think of my ancestors that will never be known, and they're their children that will never be known. And colonization is a really it's a really heavy thing in our family history. And as a person of color, having ancestry of color, I have heard from many people from many different places in the world, that they are so surprised when they go to do family history work that it's supposed to be fun and engaging, and it feels like someone punched them in the gut. I've had people reach out to me on Instagram and just say, "What is happening? I didn't not expect this what. What is this?" And I think the reason why we have this podcast and the reason why we were talking about these things, is to let people know this is a normal part of family history work. This stinging part is a normal part of family history work. It's not always meant to be positive or sunny. And in addressing the sting, and the trauma is where we get to the healing, and maybe no one in our family has addressed it yet. And so like you were saying, like, our charge, our responsibility is to take this pain and help it heal, like, get on that road to healing. And it's not going to happen in one time, one experience, but it is a process and it is a great honor to be in this position to offer that, and it reminds me of the Savior and his willingness to help us heal. And I know that when I feel the sting of the pain of family history, I think about Jesus Christ, and I think about how honored I am to be part of this healing process for my family for my kindred dead.

Miya 21:14

And just to add to what you're saying to Michelle, about the impressions you had as Jalynne was speaking, I think, what hit me really hard, too Jalynne is highlighting that the pain that your mother has experienced, and the trauma she did, that wasn't her fault. And I think looking at our histories, we recognize a lot of that. That sounded so familiar to me, too, that this pain that we may have in our histories, sometimes it's not our ancestors fault or even our fault. It may make you question like I've questioned a few times, why? Why did this have to happen to my family? Why did this happen to people that I love? And that happened to me, too? I'm feeling all of it. And it brings up all these emotions, about pain about anger and frustration. And, you know, we brought about this episode in the show, because we wanted to create a safe space to talk about this, because in talking about it, like Michelle was saying, for some of you listening, it may bring you on the journey, like finally on the path. Or for some of us, we may be feeling stuck on the path or trying to keep moving forward. And I don't have all the answers, and I wish I did. But I know that in addressing these things in our family history, bringing light to the pain that we may have felt in silence and our ancestors have fell in silence for generations, I truly believe that's where the relief and the release can start to happen for all of us. And so Jalynne just you sharing that, I can't express fully how much I appreciate you being so vulnerable and willing to talk about this. So, thank you.

Jalynne 23:03

While you're talking, it remind me of like why things go unhealed for so long. Part of it is there's no support, we've, like you'd mentioned like being the first generation of access to therapy, it might have been my grandparents or the generation before they couldn't even they weren't allowed to leave the reservation, they had to get permission from the local authorities and get it passed just to leave the reservation. So we're the first generation who are really able to, to access those kinds of resources. And so they carried things and they and I know like, it's, like you said really vulnerable to say, hey, I'm dealing with this and you feel like you're not good enough. Because you look around and you feel like there were so many healed people like why am I not healed? And I have the Savior, why am I not healed yet and something that I have a testimony of it is we get put on the path to healing in this life. And sometimes that healing won't reach its conclusion. But being on the path is important, and it's okay. If you haven't concluded your healing because sometimes I feel like this. Maybe I'll only feel that when I feel the Savior's arms around me. And it's okay that I might not feel that perfect conclusion of healing yet because I know I'm gonna get it. And that is what I think keeps me aligned with the best parts of the healing process which is like accessing joy and being able to function sometimes is knowing that you will get that healing.

Michelle 24:48

Family history work is so sacred. Turning our hearts to our ancestors is so sacred like I hope if you're listening, you feel seen. We just want to be very implicit that secondhand trauma within family history work is very real. Survivor's guilt within family history work is very real. There's so much pain in family history work. And when someone asks you, Why don't you do your family history work? It's like, I don't want to face all that pain. And if that is you, I want you to know that there's also healing in that same family history work. So we're going to talk about that a little bit more.

Miya 25:28

I know from experience in my own family history and trying to help clients with family history, there's this overwhelming belief that not talking about it means that it's all right. It's healed or didn't happen. But it brings us question of that, and talking about trauma, like why should we do this is is it really important to do? Is it essential to help us healing? Is this even helpful? Because I've been crying for this whole time. I don't like to cry as much, but I cry all the time. It's not always the most enjoyable thing to do. I'd rather laugh. But is that essential, though, to go through those kinds of emotions to, in talking about trauma, in order to heal?

Jalynne 26:17

When you're talking about that, I thought of how like when you get to know somebody, the first thing you do is introduce yourself with your name. And then once you know each other's name, then you get to know each other, and make friends with one another. And I, I honestly feel like you have to make friends with your, with your grief sometimes, because it's not bad. It's just like maybe a symbol of maybe the love that you had of what you've lost, like, We've all lost loved ones. But if you get to know your trauma, that's the only way that you can go through it, you have to name it, get to know it, and go through it, then it becomes less passive and more active.

Michelle 26:57

That's amazing. Thank you, Jalynne for sharing that, you know, in naming the abuse and naming the trauma. Sometimes that means we also named the abuser, the person in the family. And I know that in a lot of families that's really sensitive to talk about that. And namely abuser, in any type of situation of abuse that may have occurred in our family lines. But I think a lot of times when we push the abuser and the abuse and the trauma in the closet in the dark, we also push away the survivor. And I think we forget that we are all here today, because the survivor chose to keep going, the survivor chose to keep loving, the survivor chose to make a better path. And so in recognizing and naming the abuse, let's recognize the survivors. And the power that they have given to us to continue to survive and overcome.

Miya 27:53

I think addressing the trauma in our histories, it helps us to be more empathetic to ourselves, and to everybody else too, because we're realizing that, hey, this concept of having trauma in your family history, it brings a lot more relatability to one another. Do I like that we have to relay via trauma, no. But it allows us opportunity for us to connect. And I believe that connection brings about healing to I really do. That's probably a reason why I am a genealogist because I know that connecting to your ancestors unlocks all this power, especially the power of healing for yourself ever future generations. I also want to highlight to that when you were talking about the abuser, and the abused, it made me think about honestly about the Atonement of Jesus Christ, that if we were to closet, the abuse that He went through, it was stripped away His empathy, His love for all of us, and for our families who have experienced pain and trauma. I can't imagine taking that away from Him. Because that's what helped Him to know how to feel for us and with us. He moves with us because of the pain that he has felt. And so the greatest empathy exists because of the greatest pain He's ever felt. So, I think that's why we have to talk about these things. Because it helps us to remember and to love more fiercely than we've ever loved before.

Jalynne 29:33

Amen. And it is a testimony to your words like I felt seen by the Savior and I felt like I could see Him and we were joined by this sacred bond and your words are true when I just want to testify of that.

Michelle 29:52

Something someone once said to me that I want to say to all of you out there is that if you do have abusers are hard to things in your family history. And you're not ready for forgiveness and you're not healed. That is okay. And Jesus Christ is also someone that you can just give those family members to, to God, give them to God, and let him hold them and deal with them. And that's not for you have to come to some sort of some sort of feeling or forgiveness or resolution, that those family members are hard. And while they are part of your family tree, they don't have to be front and center. You don't have to dwell on them. If you need to create safe boundaries with those ancestors, that is okay, too.

Jalynne 30:41

That's a good reminder that in healing, forgiveness, yes, is needed. But boundaries are like we don't talk about boundaries enough. Those are valid integral parts of the healing process.

Michelle 30:55

Yeah. And so for me, like for the the mortos, on my friend, there's certain ancestors, I will never put on there. I acknowledge that they are in my family history. I acknowledge who they are. But they're not someone that I want to continually feel connected to, and to draw near me and me to them. And those spots are reserved for my fierce ancestresses and my wonderful ancestors that are healthy. We talk about, you know, beyond the veil, this life and then the next life, and that I think there are ancestors who are getting healthy on the other side of the veil, and there's ones that are still not, and we don't have to have proximity to the ones that aren't healed yet. Maybe when they're ready, and we're ready, there'll be a time when we can come together. But I truly believe that God will help us through those those difficult things.

Jalynne 31:46

I love how this conversation, we're talking about the other side of the veil, but isn't it feel close?

Michelle 31:52

And so real like, because it is we love our souls, right?

Miya 31:59

Forever connected. And again, in talking about this, one of the questions that came to mind was, we've been hearing a lot about gathering, gathering together coming together. And I've noticed this pattern in gathering that things come up all the time. For example, in family gatherings. Usually, when I gather with my siblings, there's five of us, that there's a lot of laughter, there's a lot of fun, but then also the things that we didn't plan on talking about come up usually, you know, not just in my family, but in other family gatherings I witnessed hard times come up about maybe your childhood or the trauma and it's made me question like, What is it about gathering that brings up these things, and not just gathering physically on this side of the veil. I mean, gathering on the other side, too. There has to be a connection with gathering, and that the prophet, President Nelson is telling us to gather, I think it's more than just come together and be one and like, it has to be more than that. Because in gathering things come up, but then it allows opportunity to heal, and to relieve sting, and to relieve pain. And I'm just wondering if you have any thoughts about

Michelle 33:13

Oh, my gosh, I got thoughts. When you were talking, I just was thinking this visual in my head of like heart turning like turning is an action word and to turn something around and to mix it up and to turn it to process and it's not always going to be pleasant. And so I think maybe that is part of family history work and gathering is turning up the truths, turning up the trauma, turning up the healing, and bringing it all to the surface so that we can all maybe collectively heal and then come together and then that's when, what is it, then our hearts are bound together after that process, but the binding of hearts can't come together without the work right?

Miya 33:55


Jalynne 33:55

Wow. So that made me think of like when recently we were up north and visiting family and we went to the, what's called the Nêhiyawêwin camp. Nêhiyawêwin is the word we have for our language Néhiyaw is our word for us as a people and Nêhiyawêwin is our as our language and part of our healing process in my community is trying to reclaim what was taken from us what was stolen from us. My reservation put on a week long camp where we could reclaim that practice and it was so beautiful being immersed in language and they intentionally held that Nêhiyawêwin camp on the site of St. Michael's residential school. I don't want to talk too much about what happened there. It was very sacred. But I do want to share that they had mentioned it was very intentional because they wanted to reclaim that place where so much harm was done. They wanted to turn it into like a turning point for us and When we're talking about gathering, I just kept thinking about what it felt like to gather there, we were literally gathered on a place where, in our family history, some of the deepest hurt came some of the deepest harm. All of us there, most of us there were primarily English speakers first because of that trauma. And we were gathered there together, turning it into such a sacred place. And I feel like that is when you think about stinging relief, like, that was the living embodiment of that we were in our sting, and in art relief at the same time. And I felt so much healing from that I felt so much excitement and so much joy. And you who would have thought, you know, being on the site of a place like that. The only other place I feel like I felt that kind of healing was at the temple. I feel like that is just a testimony of the expansiveness of Christ. We weren't necessarily as a community because of the harm that Christianity as a whole has done. Like, I don't know if we had mentioned this in the podcast yet. But the residential schools were done in conjunction with the government and Christian belief, and primarily the Catholic Church. But, you know, it wasn't just the Catholic Church, it was Christianity. And so now, my community has a deep mistrust of Christianity. And I feel like, for me, I'm very careful with how I talk about my faith among my community, because I don't want to harm them. I want them to have access to healing and not harm. And I can read the room, I guess, I want to say, but for me being there, it was a testimony of the expansiveness in my life of His love, that we weren't gathered there necessarily in His name. But He was there with me. And I feel like that is why it's so important that we gather, we talk, we talk about the hard things, so that we can move through it together. And just this explosion of healing can happen, because that was what happened, there was an explosion for me. And I'm still right now processing it. But I left a better person, because of it.

Michelle 37:20

What a beautiful and hopeful message. This is such a perfect example of sting and relief within family history. Thank you so much, Jalynne for sharing with us. And I hope this example gives any of you out there, hope for healing as well.

Miya 37:38

So I know for some of our audience members listening, you may feel like you've seen the pain or felt the pain in your family history. But you don't really have a community or a place to gather with. I want you to know that we see you and we hear you and we feel you. But I want to open this up for discussion amongst us now. If that is our circumstance, if no one is willing to hear us when we talk about the trauma in our family history, or hold space for us, what do we do? How do we address this?

Michelle 38:14

That's a deep question. And sadly, I think it's a very, very relevant, common question for a lot of people I've talked to and I mean, I think that's one of the reasons why, again, we have made this podcast is because it feels like there's nowhere for these discussions to happen. There is no safe places, or people who have the vocabulary or understand the depths of this. And that's why we're making this space. I think for myself, you know, I'm an only child, I don't have siblings to share things with I have been very much disconnected from not only by language, but by space and time for many of my indigenous ancestors. And so for me, there is a feeling of loneliness and doing my family history work is loneliness. No one else is interested in these things. But I did reach out to a therapist, and was able to help process that through therapy. And then social media. I know social media has a lot of ills. But it also has a lot of relief in finding community and finding people who are able to understand and validate my family history story. I'm so grateful to be in the room with two of my friends who see me and validate my struggles with family history work. So I just, I love both of you so much. We love you.

Miya 39:37

I think those are such good. That's such a great place to start with. Going to therapy, finding help through a trusted professional, and then finding connections through social media. That's how I found both of you was through social media

Michelle 39:53

And it's just sounds so crazy. You're like these are family things they need to be kept in the family. Don't talk about them with anyone else. That's like a ingrained in us, right? Yeah, but no one in the family wants to talk about it. No one wants to process. No one wants to address these things. And that's okay. I think Dr. LaShawn, in our previous episode talked about, like, you know, everyone has a part to play in our family. And maybe their part is holding back some of the trauma pain because they think they're saving the future generations from it. And maybe that's our job in our family history is to process and address it and dissolve it. So like me, as talked about before, we're not sending that down to the next generation, there's space for all of us.

Jalynne 40:34

While you were when we're talking, I kept thinking about how we met on social media, and how we had mentioned, like, healing often becomes like the person who needs the healing, that's kind of their charge. But it shouldn't ever just be their responsibility as well, it should be like a community responsibility. And so as you were talking about how we all met on social media, and how there are some people who don't have community who don't have family who are adopted, who are trying to seek out their roots, the thing I kept thinking of is, we need to be accountable where we are, to find those people too, and to become a person that can be in community with them as they're looking. There are so many ways that people can bond like we have shared traumas, or shared experiences, and what we can do, especially as disciples of Christ, who want to follow Him, we can become the kind of people who are ready to be a community for somebody who needs healing, and we can link arms with them. And that's what I want. That's what I felt affirmed in me, right when you were both speaking, is I want to be the kind of person who if somebody needs community, if somebody needs a helping hand, if somebody needs an arm, to hold on to, we can be that people because we love them the way Christ loves us.

Miya 41:55

Wow. So therapy, social media, and then being that community for somebody else too.

Michelle 42:07

So you know, a lot of what we're talking about, there is such thing as trauma bonding, which isn't the most healthy thing. And, you know, on social media, you do have to find the right people, because we want to have safety also in our communities online. So I just want to mention that.

Jalynne 42:23

So something that when we talk about trauma, bonding, something that I think, for me that differentiates just trauma bonding, is if we are cognizant of, we're on a healing path. And I feel like when we say I want to heal, like sometimes you have to say it to yourself, and to speak it to Heavenly Father to God to ourselves, it automatically doesn't become trauma bonding, it becomes like a bonding of healing, it becomes a shared journey of healing.

Michelle 42:55

That makes me think about there's a difference between trauma bonding and mourning with those that mourn. Yes, yes. Okay. So we are talking about mourning with those more that kind of bonding in Christ. Okay, I don't know about you. But this conversation has been so healing, just to have it just to be out there. This sting and relief concept, I hope all of you out there, take it to heart. And know that like, not only is the pain there, but also the healing. And it's not just about processing, we can also enjoy dancing and music and food and bead work and art, and so many of the wonderful things that come with our cultures and our family histories and celebrate those. And when we bring all of this together in this multifaceted view of family history, it is truly liberating and glorious. I'm going to share this final quote. Recently in conference Elder Patrick Kearon gave this wonderful talk about trauma. And I'm just going to insert your family instead of personally but he says, "Please know that the Savior has descended below all things, even what has happened to [your family]. Because of that, He knows exactly what real terror and shame feel like and how it feels to be abandoned and broken. From the depths of His atoning suffering, the Savior imparts hope you thought was lost forever, strength you believed you could never possess, and healing you couldn't imagine was possible." And I truly believe that is for each one of our families. That thought by Elder Patrick Kearon.

Miya 44:31

I want to share a quote to from a woman who I love and admire so much, Sister Chieko Okazaki. And this is what she had to say. And like Michelle, I'm going to insert our families instead. "He's not waiting for [our families] to be perfect. Perfect [families] don't need a Savior. He came to save [families] in their imperfections. He is the Lord of the living, and the living make mistakes. He's not embarrassed by us, angry at us, or shocked. He wants us in our brokenness, in our unhappiness, in our guilt and our grief." And I just want to add to Sister Okazaki's testimony that I know that the Savior's entire mission is to be here for every shape and every kind of tree and family that exists, past, present, and future. And I know that as hard as it is to face the sting or to experience the pain, that's part of our mortal existence and experience here. But more importantly, that doesn't have to truly define who we are as eternal children of our loving Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother. And more importantly, we are meant to be woven together in love and unity, and to have our hearts be changed and transformed as individuals and as families so that we access and unlock the healing power that the Savior has readily available for each and every one of us. But more importantly for our families.

Michelle 46:10

Wow, Miya. Thank you. And that is the end of our episode. This was wonderful. Thank you so much, Jalynne for all that you've shared with us. And thank you all out there for being with us. Let's go get some tacos. Yes.

Miya 46:26


Thank you for joining us for this episode of Love Your Lineage. You can find all the references and full transcript for this episode in our show notes at and if you love this episode, please leave us a review or a rating.

Michelle 46:48

This episode was hosted by me, Michelle, and Miya. It was produced and edited by Erica Free and Katie Lambert and mixed by Mix at 6 Studios. Thank you for being with us today and we hope you feel empowered to love your lineage and embrace your authentic family history story.

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