This past August, Scott and I were invited to speak at Wapekeka First Nation in Northern Ontario at their 20th Anniversary Survivors gathering and conference. This would be the first time that Scott and I were able to combine our messages and in tandem give the audience a clear idea of both Scotts goal for the Collateral Damage project and my role as an advisor but also to share my own story as a survivor.
What was so exciting for me about this collaboration was that the two messages worked well together, Scott with his very down to earth way of sharing his personal story captured the audience while I told mine with words and songs, this was very effective in breaking down an invisible barrier permitting both Scott and I to then initiate more discussions with some members of the audience.
I am always moved by the strength of the collective spirit of all of our Aboriginal people, Inuit, First Nations and Metis, coming together in these types of gatherings to acknowledge survivors and in acknowledging them, giving them a voice empowering and encouraging all of us to continue on in our personal healing journeys.
Success stories are a critical element in these healing journeys, I am thankful to the organizers of the gathering for the Nishanabe Aski Nation for the invitation to speak and sing and to Scott for his continued and tireless work on the issue of Suicide through his Collateral Damage Project (www.leftbehindbysuicide.org).
Dr. Susan Aglukark, O.C. www.susanaglukark.com