Resilience: the capacity to recover quickly
My most recent journey has come from my privileges in education and my confidence in art. I have entered the world of Tribal Politics and Public Health. I was born Native and being born Native means your were automatically born into politics. Working in my Tribal Clinic has brought me the most success and challenges in my life so far. What keeps me continuing in the work of prevention is getting to assist in the healing journey of my family.
We are all trying to Survive.
I noticed there is an extreme dichotomy for what justifies Native American identity in society today. What defines tradition? Who is “more” Native? The conflict lies between my own people, we question the decision who is Native “enough” or the “right” kind of Native? The fact that my own people are making the judgement and passing on suppression is heart breaking. Where does the problem stem - but from constructs of colonialism. The fact is the second we were forced through generations of trauma to hide/change our identity creates hate amongst of selves. By increasing the problem, we are letting the oppressors win. Don’t fight oppression with oppression. We need to decolonize our own thoughts of Native Beauty.
I want to irritate WHY I do what I do: why I write, why I make jewelry, why I use our medicines, why I work in my Tribal Community, why I bring awareness to certain topics, why I create dialogues of discussion of decolonization.
I am passionately driven to create a better environment for my little red-headed niece, for my other niece who enters the powwow arena half black, for the light skinned princesses. Native beauty comes in every shade, shape and size!
What you see is the blonde hair, what you see is the color of my skin. What you don’t see is the weight I carry, the burdens of the historical trauma that bares my shoulders. As a Native woman, I was born heavy. Ethnically, Fat. My pride and self is so damn hefty I wear a triple X just in being Native. I would never question some else's identity or authenticity. My blond hair is a choice of self-expression, and the second that I have to explain myself is the second you took my voice away. I will forever remain transparent in my writing, and I will never censor the truth even if it is hard to reveal. However, my optimism tells me that time will heal everything, but the experience forces me to hold back the tears.
Facing Historical Trauma Today
With the weather warming, the sun staying out longer, and the joys of warmer weather boosting moral, I am finally able to write this post. I won't front completely; this is probably one of two of the hardest things I will write about this year. I will forever remain transparent in my writing, and I will never censor the truth even if it's hard to bare.
Discoveries of Multipurpose Resilience
I recently was asked to participate in a Stress and Resilience Entrepreneurship Study through the University of Manitoba. The first survey measured my attitude and work preferences, as well as gathered a bit of information about my business. Plus, reflection is the most important part of the learning process. I thought it would be interesting to share the answers and maybe even helpful!
Why not have one more than one purpose for anything. If I spent an hour on this survey, one hour of my valued time, one hour of labor then, I might as well use it to gain my value. I mean after I am down with the study I do receive analyzed results and feedback about my resilience at work including strategies to improve your resilience. I recently heard in one of my "Intro to Farming" sessions I host that the equipment, tools, plants, animals, and everything in your barn or business should have multiple purposes. Abbey Palmer of the MSU North Farm in Chatham, MI says, "Everything on the farm must have two uses in order to sort of justify itself."
Hence why I will also, show off my amazing photos from Erin Elizabeth Photography and -Et Images! Erin and Emma also asked out of the blue to do an impromptu photo shoot, but low key I'm always ready! haha! I am always down for the cause, yes I will stand in the freezing cold and trek through a foot in a half of snow. I prepped my jewelry quick and packed 7 dresses, 9 pairs of shoes, 2 fur coats, and 16 lip sticks! After a 5 hour notice, my hair and makeup was on and I was out in the sticks of Skanee, MI.
2016 AT A GLANCE!
I am one of those people who thought to 2016 was complete crap! I have overcome a lot of adversity from 2016 and still trying to recover. I have preserved through heartbreak (more than once), loss in my family, violence, being dragged through the court system, and witnessing loved ones go the trials of drug addiction. Writing all that out just now and reading it back, is mind blowing. Tragedies started to seem normalized to me. My experiences of hardship almost were the norm, and I questioned how trauma appear to be repetitive, blow after blow. If you know me, then you know I am terribly optimistic, and 2016 brought me a little pessimism. Here goes my optimistic nature, already thinking that may be a good thing to have in life. But as I write about "the struggle" and as I sip my 3rd coffee, it is bringing me awareness at the strength I carry.
On top of it all, it hasn't been easy running a business and working full-time as a public health grant coordinator. I honestly wanted to quit. I mean I did! Mentally I did stop; psychically I didn't. I didn't have the luxury to let myself go completely. I was still going through the days, but it was hard to feel fully awake. I can say now finally I feel like my spark back like I have a drive, energy, and determination again. It has taken a lot of time. Healing takes awareness and accountability. I think it also takes a little selfish-ness, the right kind. The kind where you focus on your self and your wellbeing. Being selfish while being an adult with responsibility can be a little hard, especially when most social norms are against it. I even had to explain "selfish" in a positive manner because it sounds negative. The recuperation mentally and physically allowed me to come back stronger; it gave me a more meaningful relationship with my business and passion.
Hello, I am Miss Keweenaw (Ke·wee·naw) Bay 2008, University of Michigan Graduate in 2015, and current graduate student of NYU Tisch. I have come from a small Upper Peninsula Rez and have explored as far as Ghana, Italy, and England! My passion is creating wearables that embody my indigenous roots, contemporary vibes, and optimistic outlook on life. I write to give insight into my process, life, and my home as a modern Native with many visions. I want to share, inspire, and bring awareness to other others. Be sure to keep up to date by subscribing below!