Protecting Our Pines: Elder Abuse


The issue of abuse takes on an entirely new face when it turns to our oldest and most substantial trees, specifically our Great Pines

Abuse can take many forms; withholding the necessities of life is an umbrella category. Abuse can include financial abuse, Withholding food, love, Not providing a safe environment or making shelter choices that are substandard and even social isolation, according to the Blackfoot Nation before being popularized by Abraham Maslow

These concepts are consistent within the Kayanerekowa under the great tree of peace, which hits home for those in Rotinonhsonni communities. 

Actively withholding another Onkwehonwe from obtaining peace through physical interference in their matters has compounding consequences. Even Canada has relied on watching Onkwehonwe communication with their golden members to develop their strategies.

Lichen affecting lower branches and attacking the roots

Compassion and Empathy to those Pines who may have caused abuse to others and have healed or even those who haven’t but may not have the ability to harm others still require the necessities of life. 

We would listen to a person with dementia say inflammatory things but never give more thoughts or weight to their words if they engaged in a personal attack. We would have to understand that the deterioration of the brain is physically connected to the loss of mass within that structure. 

When Onkwehonwe would feast on flint corn soup supplemented with high-fat meat, The fattiest part would first be served to the elders and then flow down to the other members to share amongst themselves with their respective loved ones. No one went without, and we had one spoon but many dishes. 

Photo by Pixabay on

Encouraging healing without projecting sometimes gets resolved by leaving the community entirely and learning to understand the world where transgenerational trauma exists in every component of everyday life. Returning after that can also be met with judgement from those left behind.

Do Onkwehonwe need reminding that it’s not our place to judge how others dealt with their pain and then returned to the community with goodness and Skennen? If we see that they returned and started to give back to the land by planting and growing to assist the generations that are already here. Should they be supported?

You can experience the same trauma without having to remove anyone’s voice. Education does not make a story any less or any more valuable. If anything, it provides a separation from the reality of ongoing abuse vs healed abuse.

Do you have more to add to the story. Let us know