Saving the Traditional Circle With Life

“It’s a Native Tradition to sit in a circle and talk- to share what is in your heart.”

By John Peters (Slow Turtle) Mashpee Wampanoag


This Elder has had enough of losing our tribal youth to suicide or substance abuse. It makes me very sad and I cry for long periods of time. There’s no more tears that this old bat can share and my body is aching with pain. As a matter of fact, to any of us feel like this. I’m speaking to those who now may have the same thoughts. It’s not fair, first to yourself, loved ones, community or friends or to the Native cultural tradition meaning about sitting in a circle to share what is in your heart. This is one special place where we can help you heal and better understand how important you are to life especially to your family and Wampanoag human race.

We need no more missing holes in our traditional cultural circle. WE NEED YOU, OF COURSE BECAUSE YOU ARE unique AND HAVE cultural values where you can help yourself first then maybe others who you love. Try to let the trauma and hopelessness go behind you. Remember we are People of the First Light, please try to see the light by talking and listening.

Some twenty–five years I lost my oldest son to dying suddenly and I felt the similar feelings such that I no longer wanted to live, for two days I thought about it and cried and cried. Meantime asking our Creator/Great Spirit to help! I’m still here (78 yrs old) with my other children, family, native community and friends. Not ready to leave this world I know. I have also been faced with many other tough challenges and hardships, but I know suicide is painful and not the answer. LIVING LIFE AND SINGING A SONG LIKE THE BIRDS HELPS. COMMUNICATION is KEY TO SURVIVAL! You have to speak to someone no matter how much it hurts. Find that special friend to talk too . If you can not talk just yell loud someone will hear you. If you can’t yell, scream. You need help and we want you to be well and get to be 78 yrs. and lots older. Faith and hope is key to living. Come to us, we can help. Ask yourself these questions first if any apply while your sitting under Mashpee’s old oak tree or near the herring run. You may discover traces of hope and faith.

. Ask yourself these questions. Do I love my family? Do I still want to visit Mashpee Pond? Do I like Fried Herring? Do I like our Native Drumming? Do I like to hunt and fish. Do I love my grandfather and grandmother, mother ,father brother ,sister and cuz? Do I love my friends? Do I love myself, if not why not?

My research tells us the following:

Amy Cunningham, Psy. D., and Heidi Bryan founders of Feeling Blue Suicide Prevention Council in Pennsylvania share the following tips for: How Do I Ask For Help From My Loved Ones?

  • When you are telling someone you need help, let them know you are committed to safety and need some help to maintain the commitment. An example maybe: Mom,I really want to keep myself safe and I’m feeling really depressed now, do you think we could talk for awhile?

  • *Be direct: It may seem obvious to you that you are struggling and need help, but other people may not understand. Trying saying something like, “I’ve been having a hard time figuring out how to get a ride to my doctor’s appointment, could you help me?

  • *Make sure to ask a question and wait for a response. If you just say you are having hard times, people may not realize that you are asking them for help…

Important numbers to call:

Tribal Health and Human Service Department 508-477-0208 ext. 148

Indian Health Service Clinic 508-477-6967 ext. 6964

Hugs, Love, Hope,& Faith, Blessings to those who have crossed over and Blessings to those we can save.