The 60’s Scoop: Re-framing Identity

Hello readers,

I realize that I haven’t been motivated to write anything new for a very long time.  I hit a writer’s block and I felt that I had expressed all that I could being a 60’s Scoop Survivor. But truth be told, there will always be something to be said about the experiences of surviving Cultural Identity Genocide in Canada.   I needed time and more life experiences in order to create something new to share.

So, here’s what’s new.

I am still healing from the psychological trauma impacts of being a survivor of losing my self-identity and cultural identity.  so, I asked myself lately, how did I overcome this horrible reality.  I had to dismantle or deconstruct the lies, deceptive beliefs that others had  placed in my young mind as a girl.   This took a long period of time, in fact, it took years to realize that I am not what happened to me.

If I were to give a workshop on Re-framing Indigenous Identity, it would be a challenge. why? because everyone has different threshold’s of what they can engage with.  60’s Scoop survivors have quite a diversity of struggles and strengths.  What worked out for me to reclaim my identity may not work for others.  My narrative is quite long about how I reclaimed my indigenous identity, in fact, I didn’t even know I was searching for it. How weird is that?

If I could narrow it down to bottom line. I would say that it was my education and reconnecting with my culture that led me to embrace the process it took to re-frame my identity.  For most of my life, I never questioned my ethnicity. I was raised in all-white community, I went to school with all-white kids. I’m only  now waking up to the fact that I thought I was white for most of my life.  I recently moved to an all-white french speaking community.  For the first time in my life, I wondered how I was going to fit in.  I worried about the future, how would the community react, would they accept me, (English speaking Indigenous woman)  I was worried for nothing.  I also recently realized that I’ve become more self-conscious of my ethnicity for the first time in my life.  I now ask myself when sales people or strangers act unfriendly or unkind, are they just being a bitch or are they racist?  OMG, maybe I’ve just been living under a rock for most of my life.   So, here I am writing about the new life phase of myself becoming more sensitive about my self-identity and cultural identity.

I’m getting comfortable about talking about my cultural identity as its part of the work I do now as a 60’s Scoop advocate and Trauma recovery coach/consultant.  I share my experiences of what it was like being a 60’s Scoop survivor.  I now share that I went through an epic journey of self discovery.  I’m  just getting better and better at inspiring my audience.

Come back again soon, I’m just getting started talking about Identity.




Blog from Manitoba

Hi everyone, I am sitting down waiting and passing time until its time for me to take a flight back home to Ottawa. Its been so long since i have blogged that i can’t even remember the last time, I think its been more than a year. I didn’t know what to write about anymore. I shared my issues, insights and most people have been really inspired and a few readers were annoyed but that’s not my problem. The journey continues, there is lots of room for personal growth as a survivor of Complex Trauma. I am feeling more and more positive with my life. I was visiting Manitoba for a business trip and I have seen how far that I have come over the years. I saw so many Aboriginal people who are living in poverty and even homeless. I was homeless as a youth and I will never forget the stress and struggle to survive. What got me through this hard times was my pursuit of a higher education and self motivation to self-help to improve my life. It wasn’t easy when I was so naive and vulnerable and no family support. But being around the aboriginal population in Manitoba reminds me of the days when I struggled to get by day – day. I have a better quality of life compared to those days. I have a project around the corner and its dealing with Aboriginal people who move from “REZ” to the city. They come here to escape the oppressions of REZ life and to find opportunities and fun. But, they fall into traps of drugs, prostitution, homelessness, drinking, addictions. I will be working on a project that will be a video series of educating Aboriginal people of the dangers of moving to urban centres. Its a culture shock and they don’t understand what is normal on the REZ is not considered normal in Urban life.
Its time to catch a plane. Talk to you later.

Crossing paths with our medicine people – Our Elders

I am still alive today because of my spiritual growth and connection with the Spirit World, which includes Angels, spirit guides, protectors and my ancestors.  Without this ability of having a precious spiritual connection I know that I would have passed away along ago to suicide.  I am also still alive today because of the help of some incredible medicine people on my healing path – the elders.

My third eye opened in childhood as a result of suffering excessive physical and mental trauma.  My spirit would leave my body again and again to survive in a violent environment.  I don’t remember doing this consciously because as children we don’t know about our unique abilities or understand spirituality.

There’s not much more to say about this ability to leave my body, I don’t need to do it anymore or at least I don’t think so.  Suddenly, I do remember one special day about fifteen years ago, I had an appointment to see a medicine man for council.

It’s sometimes expected and appropriate to hug elders.  This particular day it seemed expected of me to hug this elder.  After a quick hug, the elder chucked then said to me “can you hug me again? This time I would like it if you would stay inside your body this time because your spirit went across the room to get away from me!.”  I was surprised because I had no idea that I was leaving my body.  I then looked across the room as if I expected to see my spirit hovering in the corner of the lodge.  To my disappointment I didn’t see my spirit.  And this was just the beginning of our session.

I couldn’t quite wrap my head around how he could see at all being blind and all.  When we began the private one-one session I didn’t know where to look.  It just felt weird to look at a blind person while talking to them.  I was totally surprised when he said that I was wearing a beautiful blue dress.  I thought to myself, “how can he know what i was wearing, he’s blind or maybe he’s not.  Then I thought, he must have some kind of a special power or gift to be able to see me like an all seeing eye.  However, he was holding an unusual smooth large black rock in his hand. To me that was the key to his powers.

He proved it to me right away he asked me, “do you know how beautiful and how bright you shine?  I saw you in the other room shining so brightly and how everyone is attracted to you.  Prior to our meeting he was in another me room adjacent to the kumik lodge where I was waiting to see him.  And yes, I recall that day vividly, everyone was coming up to me and hugging me and talking to me and I was not feeling comfortable with it.  It’s always been an inner struggle to be loved by others.  Then he asked me “why are you looking down at the floor? you can look at me while we’re talking.”  I know this elder was totally blind as a bat.  I’d seen him on/off over the years and I also witnessed him taking off his black coloured glasses.  He completely had white eyes, the kind that blind people have.  So it seemed like a complete mystery how he could be blind yet see all that was going on and what I was wearing and doing.  I’ll never forget his medicine powers.

God Rest his spirit- David Gehue.  He passed away about 7 years or more ago.   I won’t ever forget our one-one private session because he helped me with my healing journey that same day.   This was a great healing day in my life.

I attended a few of his shaking tents again unforgettable life experiences of a life time.  Unfortunately I don’t think there will be anymore shaking tents in my future but I know what an incredibly gifted medicine man we’ve lost.  He shared his teachings, medicines, and shaking tent with the community.  I was fortunate to be on his path whenever he visited Ottawa.

I wonder if I still leave my body when I hug people or elders because he’s not around anymore to tell me.

shaking tent

by Angela Ashawasegai

Let’s talk about Mental Health

The struggles of mental illness is becoming more and more talked about in the media and that is helping to break down the stigma of mental illness.

I will never forget the times when I suffered in silence because of the stigma.  It was heartbreaking and it kept me isolated. The journey of healing was a very very long road to recovery for me.  It completely baffles me as to why I was never diagnosed.  I was admitted to the hospital multiple times in emergency situations again and again for years as an adult.-no diagnosis.  I was also admitted to psychiatric hospitals multiple times when I was a youth.-no diagnosis.  what the *bleep* is wrong with the medical system and so-called medical professionals?

Over the years, I have self diagnosed myself with severe depression, self harm, social anxiety and most recently Complex PTSD.  I’ve had some pretty awful times dealing with all the stresses of mental illness while trying to pass myself off as “normal”.   I was pretty good at hiding it all because nobody can ever see mine or anybody’s invisible wounds.  I’ve now come to accept that I’ll always have my good days and bad days to and that is okay.

I have recovered from severe depression and self harm behaviors.

I still have my struggles with social anxiety and complex PTSD.  I have come a long way after everything I have been through.  I am much stronger now than I have ever been in my life.

I admit that I can still have my really bad dark days and its terrifying sometimes when my mind takes me down the downward spiral of doom and gloom.   Life struggles or setbacks can sometimes can be triggering, I sometimes still fight to keep moving forward.  I honestly don’t know where my inner strength comes from. I’m glad that I’m winning the battle to recover from childhood trauma impacts.

I’m still here, I’m still writing and I’m still healing.

The journey continues.

Keep talking about your mental Health.

By Angela Ashawasegai


The Missing Mother Figure

I finally found a reason to write on my blog again.  It’s the holidays and sometimes it can bring up old stuffed away feelings.

I had a dream last night about getting into a special line and everyone had a turn to give away a hurt.  It was soon my turn.  I stepped forward and reflected what is eating me up inside the most.  I said “my heart is broken, I have no mother“.   The only mother I had only punished and abused me violently for 13 years.  I went out into the world without self awareness to check and see how that influenced my life.  Anyways, I was so hurt in the dream with my sad spirit that I woke up.   It is my hope that I stop feeling this way.   Maybe its the reason why during the last 2 years I’ve been dreaming about caring for babies and children all the time is because I am mother to souls in the universe that need a mother.  I have no idea, it just comes naturally to me to be loving and caring to little souls.  I really love all children and babies and they all light up when I smile and speak to them, there is some kind of connection that is beyond words.  Is it time to embrace the inner child?  who knows, I’m sure my psyche is trying to tell me something.

All these years I’ve buried my feelings telling myself, oh I’m a big girl now.  I’m alright, I don’t need a mother.

The missing mother figure has a left me sad and lonely.  Every now and then, like today – I do become consciously self aware of this sadness and then I can either cry about it or I can choose to lift myself up by showing myself self love.


By Angela Ashawasegai

Mental health Recovery -Not an easy road

Dear Readers,

It’s 2014! and I find it so appalling that there still are barriers to getting resources for proper mental health care.  There is such a great need and “some people are being screened out because they don’t qualify for certain programs”.   This is what I heard last night at a presentation at the Royal Ottawa, mental health Centre.   One woman stood up and said that she stayed in hospital for 3 months which is an unheard of precedent.  The psychiatrist said “patient’s stay typically in hospital for up to 2 – 3 weeks” and then get discharged back out into the world again.   Interestingly, the same woman said during her 3 month stay, “I witnessed at least 3 patients being re-admitted again and again” during her 3 month stay at the Montfort hospital -psychiatric ward, I am assuming. Something is still very wrong with the mental health care system.  At least its slightly better than the asylum days.  I want to know why and how does this still happens?  People are not being given adequate support or resources to assist with mental health recovery. This would stop the cycle or loop of mentally ill people from being re-admitted over and over and costing tax payers millions of dollars.

I remember when I was stuck in this cycle being un-diagnosed, not recovering and I was heavily taxing the health care system when I was a youth.  I was in and out of the emergency, admitted repeatedly constantly for suicide attempts and alcohol induced psychosis.  It was a painful time in my life without any friends, family, social workers, doctors to advocate for me.  I was so sick and it didn’t help that I was stigmatizing myself.  I would go back home and fall back into my habits of self destruction.  It also didn’t help me to get better when I was dealing with the stigma of being mentally ill while in my 20’s & 30’s. Wow, that was a long time ago and now I can see that other people are turning that same wheel and don’t know how to get the help they so desperately need.

Its been 32 years since I escaped the living nightmare of child abuse.   Its 32 years later and I have never been given a medical diagnosis of my mental health to this day.  I have seen many doctors and not a single one ever talked to me about my mental health issues in such  a way that I felt has ever made a difference. Whatever help I received was like bread crumbs of minimal health care, the band-aid treatment.  I did find a few good counseling supports over the years when I was in shock and disconnected with myself.  I remember talking but not feeling any emotions.

The presentation that I attended at the Royal Ottawa was a painful reminder that the mental health care system is flawed. I am however happy to know that the health care system does help transform some fortunate lives while many others fall through the cracks.

I wish there was an easy button solution to help the many lost souls who desperately need resources, advocacy, compassion, care and respect.

At least at this time I am no longer in crisis.  I managed to manifest self-help through many alternative healing tools over the course of my continuous journey to recovery.  I want leave you with the message that mental health recovery is possible.  I did it, I faced my inner demons and shone light into the darkest corners of my mind, it wasn’t easy. I started healing when I started feeling, I stepped further ahead with healing when I found courage to see myself as -not the victim, -not the survivor but empowered.  I began to ask myself, what did I learn from all the things that happened to me?  I began to transform the damage and found my strengths.  I see myself as empowered and whole again, most days.  Now I am like everyone else, I have good days and bad days to.  I am doing the best that I can and I choose a healthy lifestyle that sustains my mental health.  I have a choices now.

Thank you for reading my blog.


By Angela Ashawasegai