Little Priest Tribal College Maunka Morgan Speaks of Historical Trauma and Ways to Heal to Longest Walk 5.2

Little Priest Tribal College

Little Priest Tribal College

Published April 27, 2017

WINNEBAGO, NEBRASKA – The Longest Walk 5.2 was hosted by the Winnebago Tribe at Winnebago, Nebraska on Wednesday.

Little Priest Tribal College President Maunka Morgan, MBA, sat down for a short interview with Native News Online.

{Because of technical diffuculties the rest was only recorded as a sound file and we transcribed it below, thanks to Stephanie Dodaro} After that short interview Maunka Morgan was asked by Native News Online: 

“How do you heal from historical trauma?” 

President Maunka Morgan reflected for a few moments and answered,

“What’s happened to our community is that through the generations  a source of historical trauma happened when taxpayers paid christian church denominations, ‘to kill the indian and save the man’, so to speak, in an attempt to kill their native spirit through formal boarding school systems.

These individuals, these priest nuns and teachers had raped, murdered, and molested, our children after they were displaced and taken from their homes. 50% of the students never even survived. And the half of them that did survive, it could take 8-10 years before they even saw their parents again.

They were taught what they learned at boarding schools and when they brought them back home, this is my grandmother’s generation who has now passed away, they wondered why their parents never came to get them. I suspect that maybe that trust was broken.

Essentially these boarding schools taught them how to parent. And so every subsequent generation thereafter became the first model of learning for our communities. That is a dysfunctional model. We see that over and over again. I think our community doesn’t fully know the root and the source of that. So the way we heal is we educate. We educate ourselves and we educate our community about the history of that trauma. We access as many of the healing techniques as we possibly can, whether that’s personal counseling techniques, whether that’s teaching our people just to learn just how to ask for help. To recognize the behavior and what those express behaviors are that are associated with domestic violence and drug abuse. Our communities puts a lot of resources towards that end. We have counseling and drug treatment.

But here even at the college, we see the effects of historical trauma where students, psychologically and emotionally, have a hard time getting past a class for example, or to graduate. So what we decided to do is to integrate educational curriculum along the way. To teach our people how to help themselves, how to heal themselves. Whatever feeds their spirit. Whether that’s a sweat lodge ceremony. Whether they’re part of the Native American Church and they want to do a peyote ceremony, or even if they affiliate themselves with the Christian religions or Muslim religion. Whatever feeds their spirit in a positive and healthy way, we encourage that.

Myself, to understand what I saw growing up, is that I think I pursued the field of management because it was an area where we learned about human behavior theories. Why people are motivated to do the things that they do.

So for me, that helped me as an individual, to understand peoples’ motivations. It helped me to find similar information where I could self-study, which made me realize later that there’s people out there that are highly trained in different disciplines that can help teach me how to heal myself and that it’s ok to do that. For example, we have a tribal health department with counselors. There are some grant programs that we brought on campus and there are licensed counselors for our students.

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