A Cherokee Journey
By: Patty Grant
The Cherokee Healing and Wellness Coalition collaborated with the United Keetoowah Band (UKB) and Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma to plan the Cherokee 2012 Journey to Forgiveness and Healing May 18th – 26th, 2012.
Members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) will travel to Oklahoma to join their brothers and sisters, The United Keetowah Band and the Cherokee Nation, in a coming together to celebrate a communal healing time. The Forgiveness Journey is an effort for the Cherokees to retrace the northern route of the Trail of Tears from Oklahoma back to their original homelands in Cherokee, NC. They will be stopping at significant locations along the way where the Cherokees camped, and thousands died, to offer up prayers and healing ceremonies for their ancestors and all peoples that suffered during the removal from their homelands.
Enrolled members of the federally recognized Cherokee tribes and their guests from Oklahoma will celebrate a Homecoming Friday May 25th at the Kituwah Mound in the center of the ancient mother town in Cherokee, NC. On Saturday May 26th there will be a Universal Gathering on the sacred grounds of Kituwah, open to all, to honor and celebrate the Cherokees who undertook the Journey to Forgiveness and Healing.
The Journey to Forgiveness and Healing is an effort to address how historical events, i.e. the Trail of Tears and boarding schools have affected the Cherokee for generations, and caused a near loss of their culture. These historical events have had catastrophic effects that continue to be passed down from generation to generation.
The Cherokee Healing and Wellness Coalition hopes to educate and inform those in attendance how to break the cycle of unresolved grief and trauma and how it affects our everyday lives and families. Their hope and prayer is that this event will be life-changing especially for our children in whom we entrust our future. The Coalition hopes to model combating these cycles to tribal members and to other cultures across Indian country and beyond to non-native cultures who have suffered oppression. They hope that all who participate will on some level achieve a sense of peace.
More information about the Cherokee 2012 Journey to Forgiveness and Healing is available online at http://www.cherokeehealing.com or by calling Jan Adams at 828-631-3903.
Patty Grant is currently the program manager for Analensigi and outpatient mental health substance abuse program on the Qualla Boundary. Analensigi provides services to the members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and their family members.
Patty Grant is a licensed social worker and certified substance abuse counselor, who has worked in the field of substance abuse/mental health for 18 years. She is an enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. She has worked primarily with Native Americans from many different tribes in Oklahoma, and in Cherokee. She worked in the areas of prevention, residential and outpatient treatment. She worked extensively with Native families, Native males and Native adolescents from several different tribes.
She has presented on Historical Grief and Trauma since 1995 addressing unresolved grief issues among native people. She is a founding member of the Cherokee Healing and Wellness Coalition since 2002.