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By LONDON KEPLINGER, editor
The healing process is different for every person who has been touched by trauma.
This was the message brought to Galena by motivational speaker Brian Frejo (pronounced “free-joe”) on Nov. 16 during Wellness Week for Galena high school students. The event was sponsored by the Tanana Chiefs Conference.
Frejo’s activity was held in the Student Union Building. It was open to students and community members and had nearly thirty students and adults in attendance
Mr. Frejo shared traditions with the audience from his heritage on his father’s side, the Skidi Pawnee Indians. Brian pulled out his buffalo skin drum and opened with a song from his people, to which the audience listened to in rapt intrigue. After finishing with his song, Mr. Frejo shared a ritual with the audience members.
“This is the last of the sweetgrass in this year’s harvest,” said Mr. Frejo, as he showed the audience the long piece of braided grass, used often in some Native American cultures for basketry or burning. He then proceeded to burn the sweetgrass and took a moment with each member of the audience to anoint them with the smoke using a single eagle’s feather. The rooms’ atmosphere was a calm and a sweet smell filled the noses of each person as they waited patiently for Frejo’s ritualistic blessing.
After the sweetgrass blessing, the film We Breathe Again was played. The film covered suicide in rural Alaska and followed three people and how they’ve moved on when trauma touched their lives.