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Monday, June 6, 2016

Carrying Historical Trauma: Maria Yellow Horse Brave Heart

Dr. Maria Yellow Horse Brave Heart, Hunkpapa, Oglala Lakota, PhD, is a Research Associate Professor at the University of New Mexico Department of Psychiatry. Brave Heart’s groundbreaking concept of “historical trauma”—which describes how the effects of collective injuries such as genocide and discrimination can linger for generations—offered new avenues for recognizing and healing trauma experienced by members of Maine’s Wabanaki Confederacy.

In 2000, Maria Brave Heart published the article, "Wakiksuyapi: Carrying the Historical Trauma of the Lakota." 
Using the historical trauma research conducted in survivors of the Holocaust, Brave Heart would identify a comparable cluster of events correlated with massive group trauma across generations, including the 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre and the forced removal of children to federal boarding schools.[4]

She conceptualized the current form of historical trauma in the 1980s as a way to comprehend what she observed as many Native Americans being unable to fulfill "the American Dream".[5][6]

Her most significant findings came in a cluster of six symptoms: 1. 1st Contact: life shock, genocide, no time for grief, a Colonization Period in which the introduction of disease and alcohol occurred, and traumatic events such as Wounded Knee Massacre, 2. Economic competition, which resulted in loss from spiritual and tangible dimensions, 3. the occurrence of Invasion/War Period, which
involved extermination and refugee symptoms, 4. a Subjugation/Reservation Period: confinement and translocation occur, a relationship forced dependency on oppressor is formed, and a lack of security occur, 5. Boarding School Period, in which the family system is destroyed, beatings, rape, and prohibition of Native language and religion ensue; Lasting Effect: ill-prepared for parenting, identity
confusion. and 6. Forced Relocation and Termination Period: transfer to urban areas, prohibition of religious freedom, racism and being viewed as second class; loss of governmental system and community. and a three-pronged intervention mode: education, sharing the effects of trauma and grief resolution through collective mourning and healing.[7]


Since 1976, Brave Heart has worked directly in the field to gather information on the impact of historical trauma within the indigenous communities. These groups include the Lakota in South Dakota, multiple tribes in New Mexico, and populations of indigenous and Latinos in Denver, New Mexico, and New York.[8]
Dr. Brave Heart is also responsible for hosting and presenting over 175 presentations on subject matter related to historical trauma as well as training numerous tribes across the United States and First Nations populations in the country of Canada.[8]

Maria Yellow Horse Brave Heart is known for developing a model of historical trauma, historical unresolved grief theory and interventions in indigenous peoples. Brave Heart earned her Master of Science from Columbia University School of Social Work in 1976.[8]

In 1992, Brave Heart established the Takini Network, a Native nonprofit organization dedicated to healing the wounds inflicted on Native Americans through the experiences of intergenerational trauma,[9] located in Rapid City, South Dakota.[10] (WIKI)



Dr. Brave Heart's Historical Trauma and Unresolved Grief Intervention has received grant awards, including grants that incorporate components of the intervention in reservation-based parenting work. From 2001-2004 Brave Heart directed an international conference that brought together indigenous survivors of massive trauma and their descendants.  Brave Heart has been a repeat conference presenter for the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. She has served on the Board of Directors for the Council on Social Work Education and as a consultant to the National Indian Country Child Trauma Center.

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Thought-provoking and moving 11 October 2012
Two Worlds - Lost children of the Indian Adoption Projects

If you thought that ethnic cleansing was something for the history books, think again. This work tells the stories of Native American Indian adoptees "The Lost Birds" who continue to suffer the effects of successive US and Canadian government policies on adoption; policies that were in force as recently as the 1970's. Many of the contributors still bear the scars of their separation from their ancestral roots. What becomes apparent to the reader is the reality of a racial memory that lives in the DNA of adoptees and calls to them from the past.
The editors have let the contributors tell their own stories of their childhood and search for their blood relatives, allowing the reader to gain a true impression of their personalities. What becomes apparent is that nothing is straightforward; re-assimilation brings its own cultural and emotional problems. Not all of the stories are harrowing or sad; there are a number of heart-warming successes, and not all placements amongst white families had negative consequences. But with whom should the ultimate decision of adoption reside? Government authorities or the Indian people themselves? Read Two Worlds and decide for yourself.

ADOPTION TRUTH

As the single largest unregulated industry in the United States, adoption is viewed as a benevolent action that results in the formation of “forever families.”
The truth is that it is a very lucrative business with a known sales pitch. With profits last estimated at over $1.44 billion dollars a year, mothers who consider adoption for their babies need to be very aware that all of this promotion clouds the facts and only though independent research can they get an accurate account of what life might be like for both them and their child after signing the adoption paperwork.

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