Historical trauma workshop offered at WETCC

Oct 21st, 2013 | By | Category: Online TC News, Tribal College News, Web Exclusive

At White Earth Community College, Drs. Maria Yellow Horse Brave Heart (Hunkpapa/Oglala Lakota) and Josie Chase (Mandan-Hidatsa/Hunkpapa-Yanktonai) blend history and tribal and behavioral health in a new workshop offered to students and community members. Entitled, “Historical Trauma and Unresolved Grief,” the workshop focuses on the legacy of colonization that continues to affect Native peoples throughout the Americas.

Loss of life, land, language, and culture are flash points in the workshop and the instructors elaborate on how post-historical or “war traumas” have led to “internalized oppression” among so many Native people.  Yellow Horse Brave Heart and Chase explain how traumatic events experienced long are passed down through generations—a process known as “epigenetics.”  The result today is disproportionate rates of incarceration, suicide, chemical dependency, alcohol abuse, and violence in American Indian communities.

Chase maintains that the United States must make amends with the first nations, while American Indians should embrace their culture and traditions in order to help reverse this legacy.  The instructors stress how traditional ceremonies, for example, can help heal Native peoples. “Our spiritual ceremonies have so much power,” Yellow Horse Brave Heart concluded.

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