Growing up in a small town was not a bad life for me. However, growing up in a small school with people outside my culture/race was hard. I remember being picked on for my skin, long hair, and for the way I did things. Years of this lead to depression and it lead to multiple acts of self harm. I pushed myself away from what I knew and what I loved in the hopes of being accepted. I thought it would help make me happy but it just made me sad. Years of self torment went by and my spirit grew weak. My friends and family did not know what I did, but they soon found out. I tried to quit, but it was like an addiction. In 2011, a great opportunity happened. I was asked to represent the All Nations Powwow Committee as their princess. This began a new life for me and brought me back to the circle and to the life I love. My culture saved me and I thank Aba'binili' (Creator) for it everyday. This year will be 6 years since I went back to my roots and it will be 2 1/2 years since my last self harm incident. Times may get tough and get you low, but the remedy I recommend is to follow your ancestors and their ways. These ways heal the spirit and it will brighten your path. Thank you for listening to my story, and I hope you fill your life with happiness.
-Faithlyn Seawright (Chickasaw), age 18, is from the Chickasaw Nation in Oklahoma and is passionate about culture revitalization and native pride.