Dreams of Healing Generational Memory


“When you have dreams, you know when they come from the Creator”

–Jim Miller, Native spiritual leader and Vietnam veteran

Dakota 38+2

MankatoMN38, dream healing generational memoryI recently watched a powerful film on the largest mass execution in US history, that of 38 Dakota Native Americans the day after Christmas, 1862. (Two others were hanged a year later.) The executions were ordered by Abraham Lincoln, offered as a “compromise” to the original list of 303 that Minnesota authorities had sentenced to death. Two of the men had been mistakenly hanged; and almost all had been dug up after burial to be used as medical cadavers.

The movie, Dakota 38, follows the story of Dakota Native Jim Miller, his discovery of the execution through dream and the ride he started to manifest healing. Himself abused as a child in multiple ways, sufferer of PTSD following the Vietnam War, formerly alcoholic and imprisoned, Jim’s story is more common in Native American communities today than anyone would like to believe. And yet, through all of this, his most familiar words to those who meet him continue to be, “I want you to know I love you.”

To watch the movie online, visit Karmatube.org.

Transmission of generational memory via DNA

DNA: Transmitter of Generational MemoryIn the movie, Jim touches on the suffering — what he calls a “deep, generational depression” — found in the Dakota people of today who as they carry not only the burden of current conditions on the reservations, but also the history of what happened to their people in Minnesota. Science is starting to find that’s not just an idea, but a reality: DNA may indeed be passing down generational memory. Researcher Dr. Brian Dias from his 2013 animal study reports,

“From a translational perspective, our results allow us to appreciate how the experiences of a parent, before even conceiving offspring, markedly influence both structure and function in the nervous system of subsequent generations.

Such a phenomenon may contribute to the etiology and potential intergenerational transmission of risk for neuropsychiatric disorders such as phobias, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.”

Of course, this [animal] research is in early stages and more work is required before drawing conclusions about humans. For more thoughts on the subject, see:

“Clear seeing” through dream work

While Jim describes in Dakota 38 seeing the execution ‘in his dreams,’ and only learning later what it meant by talking to other elders; it is also described at one point as something he saw while ‘looking into the fire.’ Char-Koosta News goes on to explain, “This direction to lead all tribes across the U.S. came from a dream – but more precisely, from prayer, sweats and ceremonies.” I would describe Jim’s experience as clairvoyance — “clear seeing,” which I teach my energy work students is something that can be done during sleep, or may appear as a ‘daydream.’ We all know when we are fabricating something from our ego-mind, and when we’re tapping into something greater. It’s this sense of touching a larger truth that I hear in Jim’s statement, “When you have dreams, you know when they come from the Creator.”

To support Dakota 38 and its message of healing

Karmatube.org recommends three ways to keep the film’s message of healing alive:

  • Order your own copy of the Dakota 38 DVD, host a screening, become a “backer” of future free distributions of the film, or support the annual ride.
  • Read an interview with Silas Hagerty on the genesis of Dakota 38 and the serendipitous events that allowed this gift economy film to be completed.
  • Hug someone today and say, in the words of Jim Miller: “I want you to know I love you.”

Your Practice

Reflect on your dreams and/or visions over the years; can you recall any that guided you to greater awareness, greater connection, or resolution? How might you honor this wisdom that speaks through dreams?

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