It has always reminded me of when I lived in domestic violence and the way we live in this society.
You learn to believe that you can't break free and survive on your own. And that living your life stuck in an endless cycle of pain and suffering is normal.
Don't question it.
But inside of every animal in captivity, and inside of you, there's an inner knowledge–– the one we're born with, before beliefs from this culture influenced us–– that lets you know it's not how it should be.
It's not how you're meant to live your life.
Hello, my name is Mandy Martini –– Kvyen Chihuailaf.
Kvyen meaning Moon and Chihuailaf, Mist Spreading Over a Lake.
While Chihuailaf has been considered our family's last name since the 1880's when the reservation system started–– in reality it's our clan name and follows Az –– informing which ancestors and territory we're from.
I'm a Mapuche writer and teacher. Since 2017, I've helped people in over 35 countries heal from stress and trauma inside SLG (the science of letting go)–– an online healing program. With the help of my people's kuyfi kimün, Indigenous knowledge that has been passed down for generations, I teach exactly what I did to heal from domestic violence, sexual abuse, among other traumatic experiences.
In 2020, my great-uncle, Elicura (Transparent Stone) Chihuailaf, became the first Indigenous author to receive a National Prize for Literature. In one of his books, he writes that what we see today is a "sickness of uniformity." The result of only hearing and seeing one perspective, one worldview and way of living, is that we don't question if it makes sense.
It becomes the perceived truth.
And we see people fight for this "truth" even if it makes our land (this world) sick. Even if it makes us sick.
I spent over 8 years of my life living with trauma, learning how to cope and manage symptoms like anxiety, panic attacks and depression, instead of allowing my natural responses let the cycle of survival finish so that I could heal.
These are the consequences of forgetting who we are, and trying to control nature instead of letting nature do what it does best–– take care of us. But if there's one lesson I've learned from my family, that I hope you can help you too, is that it's never too late to do something about it.
We can always do something for change.
1884 was the year my family and our people were put on reservations. My great-great grandfather, Lonko Chihuailaf (Chief Mist Spreading Over a Lake)- wearing a Western suit in the photo they took the day they took our land and freedom away- fought in the last war against the colonizers. He was the Chief of Kechurewe (Five Sacred Places), one of the biggest Mapuche communities on our territory. The children in this photo, my great-grandfather Alberto, tia Maria, tio Carlos, and their siblings, were also the first generation of children forced to attend the missionary schools. The boys managed to escape.
Ever since 1884, and long before that, every generation of my family have fought to protect our traditional knowledge, our land, and our way of living as Indigenous people.
What I do here is just my "modern" version of that.
Whether you join SLG, sign up for the email newsletter, donate to the Native Nations Garden, or just follow along on social media–– this is the reason. To protect and keep our traditional knowledge and worldview alive. To provide funding for projects that help our people and communities so that we can live as we always have.
"I owe you my very life. I was at a point last summer where I could no longer keep moving forward without something to help heal me. I was at the absolute end of my rope. If I can heal from this then so can others."
"It's been a year now since I signed up and it has transformed everything! I feel so light and happy in my body, but also a feeling of trust that my body can get through anything. I just wanted to say thank you! This has really changed my future and life in so many ways and I feel that everything is possible. "
"I hope people see the value in what you're offering... I've been working through module 1 and I would pay again and again to feel the amount of relief I felt from your program. And this is just the beginning."
"I notice now that sometimes when I'll think about something in the past, I don't feel triggered about it. I can think about it and don't have any reaction to it like I used to. My life now will be so different."