The Clouds in Water Zen Center is offering three free online workshops next week that will put the construction of the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline in the broader context of the historical trauma suffered by Indigenous people from centuries of U.S. genocidal policies, and the little-discussed parallel trauma of the perpetrators who have done such great harm.
While by no means comparable traumas, both victims and perpetrators need healing. Indigenous women will lead all three workshops, which will include presentations, small group discussions, and Q & A.
The Parallel Trauma and Line 3 workshops will be held at 7 p.m. on three consecutive nights, Monday, Feb. 8 to Wednesday, Feb. 10. All are welcome. No registration needed. The Zoom link is on the event page, above.
The presenters are Jewell Arcoren (Dakota/Sisseton Whapeton Nation) and Nookomis Debra Topping (Anishinaabe/Fond du Lac Band).
Arcoren will present Monday and Tuesday on “parallel trauma,” a term she coined as part of her studies and research on intergenerational historical trauma.
Parallel trauma focuses on the guilt and shame perpetrator’s experience from committing harms. It’s typically only discussed in the context of prison environments.
Arcoren speaks about perpetrator trauma in the context of Indigenous genocide and privilege perpetrators gained, masking their trauma of guilt, shame, and fear. “It’s a workshop that opens the door to a deeper understanding of our disconnect from place and leads us to a pathway for accountability,” Arcoren writes.
Arcoren is committed to Indigenous language revitalization and early childhood education. She serves as managing director for Wicoie Nandagikendan, a Dakota and Ojibwe language immersion preschool program.
Nookomis will speak on Wednesday about historical erasure and genocide of Indigenous peoples, a genocide that continues to this day as seen in the Line 3 pipeline project.
Nookomis is a life-long advocate for her community, Nagachiwanong (the Fond du Lac Reservation) in northern Minnesota. She believes she has a responsibility to all future generations while honoring all that her ancestors have lived, fought, and died for. She is an avid hunter, gatherer and provider.
She is a cofounder of the RISE Coalition: Resilient Indigenous Sisters Engaging Coalition, a women-led powerhouse meant to protect what is sacred for our future. RISE’s work includes opposing Line 3.
Nookomis is the Anishinaabe word for “grandmother.” Debra is a wife of 38 years, mother to three beautiful daughters, grandmother to three incredible grandsons, aunt to many, and a sister to all.