“Look to your passion, culture, and people for guidance and healing”

I feel like as a society we need to normalize mental health. We need to normalize growing and changing paths. We need to normalize seeing a therapist whether we are in a good place or a tough place. We need to not only normalize checking up on each other but checking in with ourselves. Taking care of your mental health is not selfish, it is necessary.

One form of healing for me is creating. I struggle with speaking because I could never form the words rushing through my head, but I love to listen. I love listening to stories, learning new things, and taking-in new thoughts. Though I have not always been the most confident while speaking, I learned how to become very good at visualizing what I wanted to say. I drew, wrote, filmed, etc. and found my way of communicating, more accurately, my thoughts and feelings, and that was through digital storytelling. When I entered college, this became more obvious to me.

I had struggled at first because I was focused on what I felt people needed me to be and I found myself lost for a moment. Thanks to my therapist I was able to conclude that the best way to help my community is making sure that whichever profession I am in, that I can give the proper energy and passion that is required. I think that it is so important to pursue your passion because what you do is important, even if it’s not clear at the moment.

After I realized that what I create is still important and can impact Native people in a positive way, I decided to change my major from psychology to digital technology and culture. As Native people we are often misrepresented in the media, I want to change that. I want to amplify our collective voice, create documentaries by and for Indigenous people, and help youth in my communities use digital media to tell their story. Taking control of our narrative is important and provides a form of healing.
I created Indigenize Media, a platform on Instagram @Indigenize_Media and YouTube where the purpose is to be an asset to Native communities, where I can post podcasts, short documentaries, etc. focusing on important topics, like mental health, culture, and education to name a few. This is the way I can utilize my passion to uplift my people.

Recently, I created a short film to submit for All Nations Health Center’s video contest for Suicide Prevention Week. The video had to be less than a minute and follow one of the categories listed. I sat down and begin visualizing while I wrote. I came up with a short poem and an idea of how I wanted to film. I focused my story on resilience. I want the work that I create to elicit conversation amongst the people viewing it, whether it be for educational purposes or to take something away from it that they needed to hear personally. I know historical trauma has been and will continue to be an ongoing conversation, and is something that can be both tiresome, but also serves as a reminder that we come from strong and resilient people.

I want to encourage whoever is reading this to take the time to sit with yourself and focus on what you are passionate about. Take time to check-in with yourself and how you’re feeling. And understand that your feelings are valid. Look to your passion, culture, and people for guidance and healing. We have all made mistakes, and that’s okay because we are all capable of growth as we continue to learn throughout our journey. The overall goal is to become a better version of ourselves than we were yesterday.

Kyra Antone, Coeur d’ Alene and Tohono O’ odham