Jamie Bruner

Muscogee Creek

“Layers of trauma have plagued both sides of my family, and even I have not gone untouched by either the historical trauma of my Native ancestors, or by the generational trauma on my Caucasian side of my family. The traumas I endured at a young age have stayed with me, and have proven to be hauntingly difficult. Severe anxiety and hypervigilence have become a part of my everyday life, and every day is a constant fight, but I do. I fight.

The oldest of three, I am from the Muskogee Creek Nation, originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma. As half Native American and half Caucasian woman, growing up, I unknowingly stepped between two worlds; one of historical detriment, and one of privilege. As I grew into a young woman I learned more about my family history, and I learned differences between these two worlds. My grandfather would speak little words to me in Creek, which I still have carried with me to this day, and my grandparents kept us loosely connected to our heritage. Memories of Pow Wows, Onion Dinners, Creek Festivals, and Stomp Dances stay with me.

As I grew, I began to learn of my family history and that no one went untouched by the effects of the historical trauma my ancestors faced. “Cheshire” my grandfather would say, “you go and get your degree.” I remember him always telling me of all I could accomplish. Before he passed away in 2013, I promised I would keep going. I would get my degree. I did. Even now, I plan to keep going no matter how difficult. We didn’t talk about what plagued our family and it became a stigma. Mental illness must be talked about, and our communities must be lifted up. No matter how small, change is needed.”