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Podcast Highlight: Native American Identity y Salud Mental

Illness as Metaphor, Native American Identity, and the Hidden Self

In this podcast, longtime Herstory Writers Workshop participant Pat Gorman, of Lakota descent, reads from the beginning of her completed book-length memoir Red Medicine, sharing a scene that takes place soon after she has discovered she has a rare illness that affects only certain Native American tribes and that is almost always fatal. Because eastern and western medicine have little knowledge about this illness, she is preparing to leave for the high desert of Mexico, where she will be treated by a traditional shaman.

We invite you to listen and meet Patty as she prepares to write her will, an action that took place more than 20 years ago, just before she joined Herstory with the hope that writing about resurrecting her Native American roots might heal the fatal division in her blood, in which, in a heartbreaking mimicry of history, her red blood cells were being killed off by her white ones.

As Patty began to write of growing up as a child of an Irish mother who was disinherited when she married a Native American man, secretly learning rain dances in her backyard while her mother yelled at her father to stop, she felt that the two warring parts of her blood might be healed. We don’t see it as a total miracle that Patty is still alive 21 years later and still deeply a part of the Herstory dream, the first force behind our replication project, with students in our institute reading her wise words as they are quoted in our training manual.

We hope that the making of this podcast will inspire her to take the final steps to prepare her book to come into the world, a journey waylaid by health and other parts of life. Read the full story and listen to her moving story by clicking here.

La Mujer Latina y La Salud Mental

Elsa Sánchez, quien empezó hace siete años a escribir su libro con el Taller de Escritura Herstory para latinas y quien ahora es coordinadora de sus propios talleres de Herstory, comparte una historia conmovedora sobre la muerte repentina de una de sus hijas gemelas unos días después de que nació. Como resultado, Elsa cayó en una depresión muy profunda. Mientras se mira en el espejo, no se reconoce y se da cuenta de la enajenación de sí misma que la depresión ha causado. Lee mas y escucha aquí.

East Quogue resident Elsa Sanchéz (bilingual facilitator and translator) has been writing with Herstory’s East End Spanish language workshop for seven years, and is a master of lyrical prose in Spanish and English. She currently teaches a workshop for women in Riverhead Correctional Facility and a workshop for students from St. Joseph’s College and Patchogue/Medford High School. Having begun her life working in the fields in Mexico, she is able to inspire those who are following in her footsteps to write of their memories and dreams. “In Pursuit of Happiness,” a selection from her memoir in progress, was published in the East Hampton Star.

The program’s host is Sandra Dunn, longtime facilitator of Herstory’s East End Spanish-language workshop for Latinas and a program director at the Hagedorn Foundation, where she manages the local immigration and civic engagement grantmaking.

La interlocutora del programa es Sandra Dunn, coordinadora durante 12 años del taller en español para latinas del East End de Long Island en Nueva York. También dirige los programas de inmigración y participación cívica en la Fundación Hagedorn.

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