Never forget where you came from. I keep an eagle feather that helps me remind myself about who I am and where I come from. My mentor gave it to me at an honoring for coming to his group for so long and choosing to learn my cultural ways. It helped me overlook all the things I’ve seen growing up. It helped me see light in the darkness. My mom struggled with alcohol and drug addiction. She grew up in Saint Paul and experienced abuse, and struggled with bipolarism all at a young age. I was fourteen living with my younger sisters. My mom would sometimes leave to go to the liquor store or bar to get something to drown her emotions with. Yet, there were times where she could hold herself back, wanting to be home to care for her children, resisting with all her might. Every time see one of my relatives or friends of my mom, they always tell me how much of a fighter she was. It gives me a sense of determination, a reality check that I need to keep fighting, and push on. The determination that my mother has left me has become a part of me and will never leave. Whenever I see the eagle feather, I think of how hard my mother was trying to fight her mental disorder while trying to take care of my sisters and I. It helps me stay determined and vigilant. I have to make my mother proud and give back to the countless sacrifices she had made for me and my sisters. Determination runs strong through my family bloodline.
– Kyle Kennedy