Content provided by the Health & Wellness Team at GBS Benefits
Germaine Omish-Lucero belongs to the Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians located in Oceanside, California. Her ancestors faced great loss, hardship, and extinction following the Mexican-American war. This tragic piece of California’s history remains, but Omish-Lucero’s tribe continues to stand strong and resilient to the many trials they have faced. Despite inequities that her community still faces, there are principles the Luiseño Indians practice daily to maintain a resilient and happy tribe.
Continue reading for examples of this community-built resilience and suggestions for how we can develop resilience in our social circles.
Practice Collectivism and Stay Connected
Collectivism means rejecting selfishness while actively caring for others.
“People in this (western) culture say, ‘my family,’ and they’re only thinking about their parents and their children, but for us ‘our family’ is anyone who is part of our communities,” says Arcenio Lopez, director of the Mixteco/Indigena Community Organizing Project.
When practicing collectivism, people learn from one another. They share resources and check in with others to make sure they have what they need. Staying connected is important and prevents feelings of isolation or loneliness.
Action Item: Reach out to friends and neighbors to strengthen connections. Invite them over for dinner or dessert.
Protect the Vulnerable
Lopez also highlighted the importance of protecting the vulnerable, particularly the elderly, in his community. He highlights their importance and value as a source of wisdom for their tribe. Reaching out to parents, grandparents, and neighbors can make a world of difference. Offering to pick up their groceries and making sure they have what they need is a simple way to lift someone’s spirits.
Action Item: Visit a local care facility. They often have fun activities that volunteers can participate in and are grateful for any help.
Find Goodness, No Matter How Small, and Share It
Omish-Lucero’s community has found joy in sharing the things that bring them happiness. Simple activities like gardening, writing, or performing music have lifted their spirits. Sharing these small rays of goodness has helped many find hope during trials and isolation brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
Action Item: Keep a gratitude journal and write down three things that brought joy to your day. Use this as a resource to review when facing difficulties.
Tap into Tradition
Many indigenous people look to tradition as a source of strength and resilience. One member of the community shared that tapping into traditions “helps build your own cultural identity, builds your self-esteem, and strengthens your connections with other Native people.”
Action Item: Look to your own ethnic, religious, or cultural traditions and identify two tactics that can help build connection and identity during hardship.
Take the Long View
Omish-Lucero is determined to share the stories of her ancestors with her children and grandchildren. She believes it will act as a roadmap for their future. Taking the long view refers to shifting perspective and thinking long term. If things are difficult now, they often won’t be forever.
Action Item: Reach out to a parent or grandparent to document stories of your ancestors. Share these stories with other family members to provide inspiration and motivation.