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Indians and Native Americans

Indians and Native Americans share a history of cultural trauma based on emotional, psychological, and associated wounds that keep on passing from generation to generation, following the loss of culture and lives. According to Kahn et al., (2016, 117), Indians and Native Americans face many issues such as not being allowed to speak their known languages, not permitted to express their feelings or culture. For example, large numbers of bison were hunters in Great Plains that resulted in their near-extinction. Many Indian and Native American children, men, and women were massively killed. The limitation of unity among the tribes or target population became the powerful weapon for the settlers to use against the target population to take away their lands and increase the disputed among them. The following sections will discuss the cultural-historical trauma, its outcomes, and impacts.

Many native communities faced issues such as hopelessness, addiction, unemployment, suicide, poor health, violence, and poverty. According to Shea et al., (2019, 554), there was a lot of racial discrimination and the communities also did not access health care services as well. This led to stress and depression due to restrictions on the services and the trauma progresses. The issues of socio-economic issues and cultural disparities resulted in the generation of guilt, anxiety, ancestral pain, self-destructive behaviours, and increased substance abuse. It was observed that there was huge forced assimilation, colonization, and genocide. It is was found that Indians and Native Americans have been tried to remove from their lands but they survived that eradication successfully and progressed. The effects of extermination and oppression could not stop the target population from adapting and prevailing. The faced many disparities, inequalities, and inequities that resulted in their historical trauma. There were many cases of micro and macro-aggression, anger, and sexual abuse in the target community. In America, it was found that there was forced separation of the children from their families; spiritual and religious oppression; many faced issues of hunger and flee in terror; many faced destruction of food, shelter, animals, lands, and plants; troops were sent in large numbers to destroy the happily living communities by destroying their food supplies, medical supplies; people were treated as objects (Kahn et al., 2016, 117). Due to cultural silence, the communities were economically and socially depressed and under trauma as they had no power (Isaacs et al., 2018, 469). This lack of power resulted in the violation of their humanity and dignity to a great level. These keep on passing from generations and led to the emergence of the historical trauma. The laws and policies were made in such a way that they were dominant and oppressed the target population. For Indians, there were no temples and everybody was asked to read bibles only. People were forced to follow the rituals and values of the dominant communities. Under the Indian Removal Act, Indians were being forcibly removed from the eastern regions. Those Indians who managed to travel long marches survived but faced the loss of their culture, land, and food (Cromer et al., 2018, 100).

Due to historical trauma, a big loss was faced by the target population that included the following lose: children did not respect the cultural and traditional ways; early death resulted in huge loss of people; loss of respect for old and aged; loss of respect and love for the children; loss of traditional knowledge; loss of traditional spiritual ways; loss of family ties; loss of land; loss of dignity and humanity (Charbonneau-Dahlen et al., 2016, 599). The forms of dresses, food, and social forms were forcibly changes. However, at times things were realized and treaties were signed to protect the Indians and their lands. Initially, there was cultural tension between the Indians, Americans, and Europeans. With time, it was found that cultural contacts, trading, and a few other issues were under control. During initial colonization, it was observed that the indigenous populations of North America faced issues related to culture, social, physical, and psychological, by the dominancy of White Americans. With the loss of culture, the people faced many issues in getting the governmental or non-governmental offers or services, faced stigma, and were violated in such a manner that they could not even exercise their basic rights. The culture became the sole reason for their restriction from services, respect, and dignity; therefore, many were killed, some flew away and some adapted few cultures for survival (Schure et al., 2020, 999). All these factors resulted in the loss of their own culture, loss of knowledge about their culture in future generations, and respect for traditions. The factors that contributed to the era of cultural instability are as follows: dress, food, family system, spirituality, material culture, and trade. The cultural clash arose because of the following factors: competing belief system, resource competition, or new diseases. The era of cultural loss showed the following key points: involuntary relocation, loss of self-rule, poor health care options, poverty, loss of traditional resources, loss of cultural memory, discontinuity of experience, and loss of language (Reinschmidt et al., 2016, 63). Moreover, it was found that due to wars in history, the Native American culture got impacted to a great extent. This is because they used to rely on their homelands only but due to war, many had to leave their culture to survive. There were ethnocide incidences due to the policies made by the government that resulted in trauma in the generations of Indians and the Native Americans.

References for Shared History of Cultural Trauma

Charbonneau-Dahlen, Barbara K., John Lowe, and Staci Leon Morris. "Giving voice to historical trauma through storytelling: The impact of boarding school experience on American Indians." Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma 25, no. 6 (2016): 598-617.

Cromer, Lisa DeMarni, Mary E. Gray, Ludivina Vasquez, and Jennifer J. Freyd. "The relationship of acculturation to historical loss awareness, institutional betrayal, and the intergenerational transmission of trauma in the American Indian experience." Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology 49, no. 1 (2018): 99-114.

Isaacs, Devon S., Melissa Tehee, Julii Green, Kee JE Straits, and Tamara Ellington. "When psychologists take a stand: Barriers to trauma response services and advocacy for American Indian communities." Journal of Trauma & Dissociation 21, no. 4 (2020): 468-483.

Kahn, Carmella B., Kerstin Reinschmidt, Nicolette Teufel-Shone, Christina E. Oré, Michele Henson, and Agnes Attakai. "American indian elders’resilience: sources of strength for building a healthy future for youth." American Indian and Alaska native mental health research (Online) 23, no. 3 (2016): 117.

Reinschmidt, Kerstin M., Agnes Attakai, Carmella B. Kahn, Shannon Whitewater, and Nicolette Teufel-Shone. "Shaping a stories of resilience model from urban American Indian elders’narratives of historical trauma and resilience." American Indian and Alaska native mental health research (Online) 23, no. 4 (2016): 63.

Schure, Mark, Sarah Allen, Coleen Trottier, Alma McCormick, Dorothy Castille, and Suzanne Held. "Daasachchuchik: A trauma-informed approach to developing a chronic illness self-management program for the Apsáalooke people." Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved 31, no. 2 (2020): 992-1006.

Shea, Haley, G. Susan Mosley-Howard, Daryl Baldwin, George Ironstrack, Kate Rousmaniere, and Joseph E. Schroer. "Cultural revitalization as a restorative process to combat racial and cultural trauma and promote living well." Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology 25, no. 4 (2019): 553-565

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