My name is Jennifer Yazzie and I am in my second year at Fort Lewis College. I am from Gallup, New Mexico but spent most of my time in Window Rock, Arizona. Growing up it never really occurred to me that my father was in the military and fought in the Vietnam War. At the time, it would be brought up but I wasn’t sure how to feel about it. When I looked at my dad I didn’t see any struggles he had with his past and he never really shared any of it. When I was just about to enter high school, my brother, who is four years older than me, went to the military right out of high school. He was the only one of all of my siblings who I spent my entire life with up until he left for the military. That being said, it was very difficult for my family and I to get use to the fact that he wouldn’t be around all that much for four years. When I was a sophomore going into my junior year in high school my brother went to Afghanistan and was there for a year and a half. Long story short, he was out of the military in August 2013. When he came home, he was a completely different person. Its been more than a year that he has been back and he still has difficulties with a lot of this things mentioned in this blog. He has never went to seek help and he convinces himself that he is okay.
My brother and my dad are the reason why I want to do whatever I can to help American Indian veterans and veterans in general. The research I have done for this blog all tie into using the Native American tradition to help veterans with PTSD. My father has had ceremonies done before and after he went to war and he tells me that is why he doesn’t suffer so much from his past.
Although I am still in the process of figured out what to do and how I can help, I know that just being there to listen to them is one of the best things you could ever do for them. All they want is for someone to listen.