May I Walk in Beauty

Sangeeta Swamy
2018 Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy  
Editor: Katrina McFerran Reviewer: Brynjulf Stige Music therapist. Professor. Musician. Researcher. Native American scholar. These were some of Dr. Carolyn Bereznak Kenny's professional titles. For those who knew her personally, however, there was little doubt that she was warm, generous, strong, and opinionated. Like a true Elder, she was full of wisdom and power, never afraid to say what she thought, holding us accountable and challenging the boundaries of our field. Though Carolyn was
more » ... Carolyn was prolific, most of her writings were not in music therapy. They were in Indigenous Studies. Born to a Choctaw mother who abandoned her heritage until the end of her life, for Carolyn, connecting to her Indigenous heritage was an integral part of her search for personal identity and wholeness. After her mother died, Carolyn was adopted into the Haida Eagle clan and became actively involved in other Indigenous communities. Indigenous knowledge and research became a major part of her professional life as well, in her role as First Nations Education/Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University and Professor of Indigenous Studies and Human Development at Antioch University. The breadth and depth of her scholarly work was extraordinary. However, for many of us, including countless music therapists who had never met her, Carolyn was so much more than a distinguished scholar. Through her presence, energy, and words, she was a powerful role model, muse, and mentor. From the beginning of my music therapy training in the 1990s, I remember feeling an immediate connection to Carolyn through her cornerstone books, which were the only spiritual and cultural pieces of literature in our field at the time. As a graduate student, I did not fully understand the concepts she wrote about or how to embody them in my therapeutic work at the time. However, I was completely mesmerized by the mystery, poetry, and depth of her writing, the intangible and invisible mystery she evoked through her presence.
doi:10.15845/voices.v18i3.2577 fatcat:mygkpjwrhrdw5etxyo5plvkhfa