After decompressing for a few days some thoughts on our suicide prevention efforts at Cama-i.
First-Thanks to all those who helped. YKHC-MSPI for funding the Matachin Dancers travel, the dancers themselves, and ME School for giving them a place to stay. Alfred Wallace and Christof Swope for their awesome rap songs about living and their tremendous performance on Saturday and Sunday. The young people from TAAV (Teens Acting Against Violence) for helping make all the posters and for sitting in at the Memory Room. To all the BRHS Junior and Senior High students who made “life links” for the chain that went from the entry to the Memory Room and back again. To Annie from TAAV for the beautiful original poem “Beauty” that she recited in the Memory Room. To Joy Shantz for her artistic vision. To those who sat in while I took a break or watched some dancing. To my beautiful wife Jeanette and my daughters Haley and Kelly for their help and for the support they always give when my spirits are low. John Wallace for his great work on the website, his ideas and the use of his kids. To all those who visited and those who added to the Memory Room Wall. To Hailey Martinez for her spiritual input in creating the medicine wheel and conducting the pipe ceremony. To her husband Jessie who had his hands full with their little one and to Haileys father, my good friend, Reynel, who’s medicine and words have helped me heal. I’m sure there are others and to them thanks.
We accomplished good things. People came to the Memory Room and found no statistics. There was a face or name where statistics would have been. People looked, talked, cried, laughed and wrote. They gained closure. Mostly they remembered and healed. The performances by the dancers were full of energy and their message was one of hope for the future.
We established some great contacts and were invited to do our Memory Room again next year. A cultural exchange is also in the works for a Bethel dance group to go to Texas. All in all a great event and one we look forward to participating again. When culture, sharing, helping, and cooperation meet great things happen. Thanks everyone.