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John White’s Lost Colony

As many may know, I like words. I like the nuances of words, the history of words, and I have the utmost respect of the power of words.

Words are the container of power. My preacher, Joyce Meyer, taught me that.

I was mulling over the word, “justice”today. Justice is a very complex word and variations of that word lead to significantly separate and in some instances, opposing meanings.

The feeling of being revictimized due to a lack of justice – systemically – is a very current societal debate. Again.

I know intimately the power of the feeling that the “lack of justice” bears on a person.

I have the best family that I love unconditionally and who also love me unconditionally. That, I am learning, is a rarity as well.

I learned too that some things will never be wrapped up in a beautiful bow in a pretty package and be given to you (or me in this instance). It is a present we find ourselves unravelled by because we never will receive that particular gift. – otherwise known as closure or justice.

Mine came at a young, tender age. An age of innocence, is what others experienced, from what I read about.

Mine was delivered to me by my cousin. He was entrusted by my parents to care for my siblings and me. He had total control and enjoyed himself by using my body. I was a toddler when he started. I was around 9 or so when he stopped, physically.

Emotionally though, I was his favorite plaything all the way to his tragic end. I was 18 when that day came.

The last thing he asked me to do was help him write a card to his estranged girlfriend. He wasn’t good at writing. I helped him.

A day or two later, he left Nome where we all lived at that time, and went back to our hometown of McGrath.

He strangled his estranged girlfriend to death. The girl I had just helped him write the card to.

He walked around the town for 12 hours and then put a gun to his face and shot himself.

This is an extreme example, I understand that now. And unfortunately, it is not fiction.

But where there is a lack of justice, a person has to define for themselves how they will view the world and reconcile those bad acts against them in some fashion. For me, as a child, I reconciled by telling myself I was helping him. That was the only rationale in my new mind that gave me hope and some personal power to this messed up reality.

I was looking up the word, justice, because of a completely different set of issues today. I have said my piece, I have no control over the outcome, but as an adult, I have a very distinct power of self than the little girl I once was.

The difference today is that I am able to seek justice. I get to participate in the process and access the system that is in place to bring justice.

Systemically, as an individual Alaska Native woman, I have to seek justice to gain justice. That is my part. Justice is not some magical event that appears from fairy dust. Noone will know the wrongs unless I speak on my own behalf. Law enforcement does not have the power of learning about wrongdoing through osmosis. Neither does anyone else.

As a child, I didn’t tell my parents because I was manipulated into believing that something was wrong with me.

That is what my cousin succeeded at engraining into my belief system about myself. And yes, that belief lingers. The best I can do is knowing that this incorrect self-belief is only activated if I let myself fall prey to it.

We are a nation of individual people, that make up these populations who fall prey to these lingering self-beliefs; that materializes into hopelessness and a systemical belief that there is a broader lack of justice.

Each experience, unique. Each experience, too, carried down generationally.

Unfortunately, these tactics and others, are the foundation of how our country was created. Societal ills will take more than money, policy, or governance.

Healing the soul requires teachings that the most organic power we hold is over the choices we make and the thoughts that we allow of ourselves.

By Trudy Sobocienski

My blog, "Beyond Leadership" is a creative place to share my personal feelings and thoughts while working in leadership roles for a variety of Alaska Native organizations, both for and not-for profit entities.

An incredible leader and mentor of mine once asked while we were in Washington, DC, "What happened to you between the ages of 7-10 that motivated you to serve in a native leadership capacity". I was struck by that poignant thought and as such, include actual entries from my mother and my diaries beginning in the early 1970's.

I enjoy sharing these excerpts because it captures the parallels she and I were experiencing throughout life, from two separate worldviews. Hers as a young mother of four and mine as her eldest child.
I have never came across a book on leadership that lays bare a leaders personal feelings, thoughts, hopes, fears and dreams they were experiencing.

So for me, my goal is two-fold:

1. Share the incredible life my parents created for my siblings and I growing up in remote Alaska; and,

2) Sharing my humanity, through my personal diaries and journals, while serving as the youngest-ever President/CEO for the Alaska Native Health Board.

There are passages that will include significant policy issues I was working on throughout my career and travels. There are many more passages that do not.

I cannot speak for my mom's passages, because I am reading them as I share them here, with you; with her permission of course.

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