In the Spirit of Medicine

©Bob King. Used with permission.

 "Ernest knew that deep inside and he gave me something I didn’t even realize I needed. He gave me silence and he taught me in that silence. All of the fishing stories and his taking his sister back into his life and his sitting outside the art gallery working leather were in that silence. When I stood next to him I forgot the things I needed to do and those cares and stresses were a world away. All that mattered was friendship and the sounds of the powwow and the smell of the lake. For a brief moment I could let time slow down and simply stand next to a friend."

Ivy Vainio

I always think when you’re finding your family history, you want there to be a haunted Scottish castle on a moor and maybe some kind of lost treasure. Instead, we found poverty in the heart of Tampa and we found love and acceptance.

©Ivy Vainio. Used with permission

  I have something for you and for him. It’s the only Ojibwe song I know and it was given to me to sing in the American Cemetery in Luxembourg. I sang it there for my wife’s great uncle Johnny Mercer and everyone who died on that B-17 bomber and for every warrior there. It’s a Soldier Song and I want to sing it for you now.

  It’s the only thing I have left for you.  

©Ivy Vainio. Used with permission

The story of how I became a doctor has several beginnings and maybe the middle part has a few different versions depending on what part of being a doctor I’m thinking about.

Lazellion/Flickr

   “I remember your stories and I appreciate what you tried to teach me.  I wish I could have gone ricing with you and heard you knocking rice as the flocks of redwing blackbirds rose and fell by the thousands in the rice beds. I’ve thought about you sitting by the fire on cold February nights with the stars bright above you and the trees popping and snapping from the cold as you cooked your maple syrup.  I want to learn some of our songs and I always hoped you would teach them to me.”

Devon Wilson/Unsplash

These men are in prison with the expectation from society that they are going to change for the better. They should be able to expect the same from us in return.

Chiot's Run/Flickr

   When I make my maple syrup, it’s the only time I find any peace. My dog stays by the fire and I can hear the popping and the cracking of the trees and sometimes I can hear deer walking in the snow out in the woods.  

Charles on Unsplash

“This insulation and caulking are for my daughter’s house. She left home when she was seventeen and she was never coming back. She has a daughter who’s just going in to the fourth grade. I have so much to make up for and I want her and my granddaughter to have a warm house. I want them to remember I’m the one who gave that to them.”

Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

  “I always think about Genevieve and you’d think I would be better by now. It’s been almost three years since she died and when the clouds are out it seems like the sun will never shine again.”

Arne Vainio

We come into this world through a doorway and travel this circle and hopefully make it through all four stages of life before we cross that threshold again. 

We are told the very young and the very old hold hands across that doorway.

Queen's Printer for Ontario, 1956

  Those boys jumping from the snow bank are the future suicides in our communities, but only if we allow it. What we tell our children and what we say to each other makes a difference.

Roland Ster/Flickr

This week: do you believe in second chances?

In the Spirit of Medicine features the essays of Dr. Arne Vainio, an enrolled member of the Mille Lacs  Band of Ojibwe and a family practice doctor on the Fond Du Lac reservation in Cloquet.

National Archives

This week: honor, service, and keeping a promise.

 

 

In the Spirit of Medicine features the essays of Dr. Arne Vainio, an enrolled member of the Mille Lacs  Band of Ojibwe and a family practice doctor on the Fond Du Lac reservation in Cloquet.

Photo by Church of the King on Unsplash

  This week: what do you want to be when you grow up?

 

 

 

In the Spirit of Medicine features the essays of Dr. Arne Vainio, an enrolled member of the Mille Lacs  Band of Ojibwe and a family practice doctor on the Fond Du Lac reservation in Cloquet.

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