Historical Trauma in Native Americans

Historical Trauma in Native Americans

Historical Trauma… [to be further developed with clear introduction with definitions and an example or two]

Ecocide is a way to destroy our natural foods like fish, deer, and buffalo, destroying foods that sustain a people forces them to move or die of starvation. A bounty was placed on buffalo and so colonizers killed buffalo almost to extinction. Deer was not allowed to be hunted by common people. Another tactic used on the Columbia River was to destroy the “Celilo Falls” so tribes could not fish for food and barter. Fish hatcheries were placed below the Bonneville dam so fish would not return to the upper rivers and made available to the tribes of the Columbia River.

Culturcide is an effort to remove a person from their cultural practices, government laws forbid our ancestors from practicing traditional and spiritual ceremonies and were forbidden to speak their native languages.

Genocide, government laws provided the public legal murder by allowing them to hunt and kill our ancestors, men, women, and children were killed by the United States military and Bounty hunters. They were paid for every scalp they brought in.

Assimilation is a tactic used to change the identity of a person by integrating the values and cultures of a dominant society this was enforced by the government as Native children were removed from their homes and sent to boarding schools, separated from their families by hundreds of miles. They were forced to engage in foreign religious practices, speak foreign languages, taught a foreign education that had no place in their traditional worlds. The clothes they wore in an honorable manner were removed and burned and their long beautiful hair was cut to look in the image of the non-Indian society and forced to choose a foreign name. If they did not conform to this change they were beaten and often times killed. Families were left wondering where their children were, left with an emptiness and loss.

Separation, whole tribes were removed from their lands of origin and forced to walk hundreds of miles to a location reserved for “Indians”, they were isolated from their extended families, natural foods, medicines and left to die from starvation, sickness and the harsh cold weather.

Termination was a way to remove our people from our lands but also to diminish their tribal identities and allowing the government to be free from their “Trust Responsibilities” agreed upon when “Treaties” were established that allowed non-Indian people to live upon our lands. This put many tribal people in turmoil, removed from home, community, and displaced.

All these historical and current events have cause our Native people to live in a state of “Chronic Stress” and this contributes to unhealthy lifestyle behaviors, our bodies change how we metabolize foods and we are now eating foods that are high in sugars like fast foods (McDonalds, Burger King, KFC, etc.), packaged and canned ready to eat foods have a lot of sugars and sodium or salts as well as fats don’t’ break down.

Listed below are other types of Cultural Trauma

1. Establishment of Reservations

2. Shifting and forcing the thinking from a inclusive and connected (circle) to a linear and disconnected (square)

3. Removal of children to Boarding Schools

4. Removal of children from homes

5. Refusal of “allowing” Native Americans to use their own language

6. Forced sterilization of women in many tribes

7. Frequent systemic violations against Native Americans by the government and law enforcement

8. Racism and stereotyping

9. Removal of group focus and encouragement of individuality focus

10. Lack of trust in others – non native peoples, native peoples in tribal governments, lack of confidentiality in system

11. 90% reduction of Native American population since European dominance

12. Legally and militarily stopping ceremonies, healing practices, and spirituality