In my aesthetic piece, my inspiration was for Indigenous healing. During my journey towards reconciliation, I learned about intergenerational trauma. Intergenerational trauma means that trauma can be inherited and affect future generations. For example stress, depression, violence, alcoholism and anxiety are all factors that can be passed on biologically. There were a lot of extremely traumatic events that have occurred to the Indigenous people of Canada that have left deep scars. The scars from traumatic events from the past have been passed on from generation to generation through intergenerational trauma. Indigenous people lost their way of healing and unknowingly passed on their trauma to their children through sharing stories, having them witness the pain and suffering, and through extremely negative ways of coping as well as, parenting children in families after growing up in a residential school. Their children see them coping through violence, drug abuse, alcoholism abuse, extreme depression, and in turn, their children gain this trauma and look for ways to cope with it, like their parents did. It seems to be an endless vicious circle.
Communities coming together to support each other will help break the cycle of intergenerational trauma. My art piece shows the start of the healing process to end the vicious cycle. It shows Indigenous people reconnecting with their culture. The hands represent the years and years of suffering. The burnt paper represents the scars and the damage that is irreversible. We will never get the burnt paper back, just like we will never get the lost cultures back. I have included a medicine wheel because it is known to be a process of healing and growth for the indigenous culture, along with flowers and a butterfly to reconnect them with nature. The words on the outside like, “resilience and together” can start being used to move towards reconciliation. And finally, the smallest hand represents hope, healing and a new beginning to a healthy and strong future for Indigenous people.
I know that my journey towards reconciliation is just beginning, but I also know that every effort to decolonize my classroom and incorporate many different ways of knowing in my curriculum will make the world of difference for all students.