Dennis Franklin Cromarty First Nations High School Elder Eva Kakepetum has written a book featuring her healing journey to help others with their own healing processes.
“By telling a bit of my own story of abuse and also the struggles my husband and I had with him going to residential school as well, I thought that would encourage and give hope to people,” said the retired addiction and mental health counsellor, whose family is originally from the Bad River reserve in Wisconsin. “We’re in a really good place now and we went through our healing from our abuse issues.”
Kakepetum said she went through a period in her life where she used alcohol and drugs to try to numb the pain she had from abuse as a child.
“I thought of suicide from five years old to 24 years old,” Kakepetum said. “I share that just to show people, here I am — I’m an author now fulfilling my dreams.”
Kakepetum’s 93-page book, Alive Again - A Journey From the Storms of Life, is available on Amazon.com as a print or e-book. The book features the artwork of Kakepetum’s partner Abe Kakepetum on the cover as well as inside the book.
“For a short period of time it was free on Kindle,” Kakepetum said. “I had five days where people could access the book for free and I believe in June of this year that it will be available again, but I don’t know the dates yet.”
Kakepetum began her healing journey when she was 24 years old.
“It was a few years for me because I started and then I stopped,” Kakepetum said. “Then I went forward again and completed it.”
Kakepetum and Abe usually take the opportunity to share their healing stories with others whenever possible.
“Basically, sharing your story just continues the healing as well,” Kakepetum said.
Kakepetum focused on keeping her book short, simple and encouraging to give people hope.
“There are exercises in (the book) for individuals to work on themselves,” Kakepetum said.
“And it talks about self love at the end as well — we need to know who we are as an
individual rather than what we’ve been told. Sometimes as children we’ve been told nasty things about ourselves and we carry that with us for a long time.”
Kakepetum has received good reactions to her book so far, including comments that the book will open doors for people to begin their healing process.
“I’ve had really good reviews,” Kakepetum said. “When you publish a book, it’s really exciting but it’s also scary because you don’t know what people are going to think about it.”
While Kakepetum wrote the book to help all peoples, she said it is aimed mainly at First Nations people.
“I work with the (DFC) students as an Elder right now and I want to reach the students so badly,” Kakepetum said. “If this book can save at least one life, one person from suicide, then it’s been worthwhile.”
Kakepetum encourages people to begin their healing journey as soon as possible.
“There is so much of life to live,” Kakepetum said. “The earlier you get your healing and get comfortable with who you are, the more of life you are going to have to live.”
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