Cultural Encounters: A Journal For The Theology Of Culture Volume 11 Number 1 (Winter 2015) - Page 15

VOLUME 11, NUMBER 1 A JOURNAL FOR THE THEOLOGY OF CULTURE there’s a consolidation of power and where there’s isolation. It’s not like this is a cure-all, but they said, “The longer we live this way, the less violence happens in the first place.” And it’s because the structures are put in place that make violence less of a thing that people think to do. In our society, we all have these violence intervention programs concerned with what to do after the violence has occurred. But they’re suggesting you could structure your world differently, so that you stop being violent in the first place. By having these different structures, they’re able to be different. They’re able to imagine a different world in that process. Also, I think that what this suggests is we need to put together innovations for structural change at the same time that we look at how existing structures impact us individually, because so many times we put the two apart. If we want to protest, we’ll get together and publically march on the streets. But if you have a personal problem, go see a therapist. And, of course, because you’re not actually all that “together,” when you come back to the movement, you mess it up with all your dysfunctional behaviors. But there’s no place to talk about it because that’s something you do on your own time. And when you go to your therapist, what you learn is how you can put a Band-Aid on your problems till you can learn to live in an unjust society, and not how you can heal within the context of creating a just society. So how do we put the two together? I just want to mention one book, by Dian Million. She’s a Native scholar and the author of Therapeutic Nations,3 in which I think she does a great critique of this as it’s impacted Native communities—but I think it has broader implications as well. She’s talking about the fact that there are all th ese government programs that are about healing Native communities, but they’re never about decolonizing Native communities. It’s always about, how can we heal you within the current system? It never asks, what system led you to be hurt in the first place, and can we change that system itself? Another group I was mentioning was the Boarding School Healing Project. This is a group that is trying to get justice for boarding school survivors. But it’s centered on healing in that work, because in my experience, as we started to do workshops for boarding school survivors, people would literally drive two hundred miles—though they had a hard time getting gas, and they were in very rural areas—and not be able to walk through the door because of that trauma. And that’s when we learned that we can’t just develop a movement around an idealized vision of who we are. We have to build movements 3. Dian Million, Therapeutic Nations: Healing in an Age of Indigenous Human Rights (Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press, 2013). 14