Finding Tadoda:ho An Autoethnography of Healing Historical Trauma
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Abstract Framed within a wholly Indigenous paradigm - Gayanehsragowah - my dissertation is a counterstory constructed to engage colonialism in a decolonizing research and writing project. I chose story, an autoethnographic novel, as form to represent Indigenous reflexive method; a metaphoric text performed to unlock metaphor’s meaning, once known, I see through to and refract truth upon my own life story implicit within that text. To illustrate human potential for healing and self-change, I construct pedagogical relationship between lived experience and theoretical meaning in interlocking and entangled threads inseparable from form, not possible in conventional thesis organization. Tadoda:ho, the Great Law icon for transformation centers my inquiry into effects of cultural, social and political disconnection from Hodinohso:ni: systems; in particular, I examine historical unresolved grief carried both over the life span and across generations. I use Denzin’s approach to critical personal narrative, Ellis’s autoethnographic method and Richardson’s creative analytical practice to create an interpretive text comprised of short stories, poetry, conversations, dialogue, visual representation and layered accounts. My inquiry reveals Battiste’s transforming energy flux, which I call spirit, manifests in Indigenous language structures, and similar to Ellis’s evocative and analytical texts, once voiced through writing, creates change in the universe and in self. Critical reflection and representation of an Indigenous world in constant motion to renew livingness lends key knowledge that reconnection to ancestral histories, lands, and cultures restores Indigenous identity to resolve the trauma of historical grief. As Gayanehsragowah is performative healing narrative, my inquiry intends to add new knowledge of Indigenous story as form with power to inform self-change.