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INTERGENERATIONAL MULTI-CULTURAL PTSD: A
NATIVE AMERICAN PERSPECTIVE

Darlene Kawennano:ron Johnson, MSW

Eagle Vision, Inc.

Post Office Box 1584

Mesa, Arizona 85211-1584

Today, many Native American Indian people suffer from intergenerational pain, grief, anxiety, and stress which began hundreds of years ago with the onset of manifest destiny: a term loosely used to define the beginning of the end for many Native people. It was the end of freedom ,the end of our right to speak our language, sing our songs, educate ourselves by our elders, nature, and our community. Our dances were viewed as devil worship and our prayer, spirituality, and healings were forbidden. Our children were taken away from us and given to the 'Great White Father' in Washington to educate in military style boarding schools. Young girls were forced sterilized without anesthesia to assure they would not reproduce. It was the governments way of 'curing the Indian problem.' Our land was finally take and we were put on reservations with ration tickets for food and flour sacks for clothing. So, we endured, but not without shame, humiliation, and confusion.

This pain and trauma was passed down from generation to generation to the present resulting in disharmony, low self-esteem, cultural shame, loss of spirit, language, traditions, and culture. The pain manifested itself in a lack of extended family and community bonding, increased domestic violence, child and elder abuse, alcoholism, drug addiction, and internalized oppression.

Treating Native American intergenerational PTSD requires empowering the family and community through re-traditionalization of Native American values, beliefs, spirituality, and traditions.

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