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Restorative Remarks: An Elder’s Path to Healing

Sunset over Nome beach

“When I climbed down into that valley, my instinct told me I had to make sure there was a way to climb back out. I knew I needed some lifelines… I thought about the lifelines that were there for me… In the stormiest times of my journey, their presence had confirmed for me there’s an existence of a heavenly Father…

He first took me by the hand and said, I am going to lead you to the corner of your heart that is broken. I will be with you every step of the way as you heal your broken hurt. When you suffer, I will meet you with a suffering love. Because I, too, am acquainted with suffering.”

– Mary Miller, from ‘Overcoming Childhood Trauma’

Those are the words of Mary Miller, from a keynote address for the Alaska Native Children of Alcoholics conference in 1995.

Miller was an esteemed elder; active in the Lutheran church, assisted numerous programs to benefit the villages, and was a major figure in the Indigenous sobriety movement.

Miller, in the voice of Sherri Anderson, describes her own journey of recovery. She speaks about needing to face the weight of traumatic childhood experiences in order to find healing and freedom from patterns of addiction.

The speech was adapted for radio in partnership with the hospital’s Native Connections Program and voiced by Sherri Anderson.

The first in a series, Miller’s remarks can be heard in their entirety here.

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We acknowledge that KNOM Radio Mission is located on the customary lands of Indigenous peoples. 

Based in the Bering Strait region, KNOM broadcasts throughout the homelands of the Iñupiaq, Siberian Yup’ik, Cup’ik and Yup’ik peoples.