Historical trauma and cultural healing
The recent event of George Floyd’s murder happened within a context of historical trauma experienced by African Americans throughout U.S. history. The experiences of genocide, massacres, slavery, relocation and destruction of cultural practices shared by African Americans and other communities of color can result in cumulative emotional and psychological wounding carried across generations, a concept that researchers and practitioners call "historical trauma."
What is historical trauma?
- Collective, cumulative emotional wounding across generations resulting from cataclysmic events.
- Events target not just individuals but a whole collective community.
- Trauma is held personally across generations.
- Even those who have not directly experienced the trauma can feel the effects generations later.
What are microaggressions?
- Events involving discrimination, racism, and daily hassles that are targeted at individuals from diverse racial and ethnic groups.
- Current events that are covert in nature.
- Can be verbal or non-verbal, interpersonal or environmental.
- Burden of addressing them is placed on the recipient.
Historical trauma is not just about what happened in the past. It’s about what’s still happening.
Check out these Extension resources:
- View the video series Historical trauma and cultural healing to hear from researchers and practitioners working to foster healing and recovery.
- Read the research report Historical trauma and microaggressions: A framework for culturally-based practice to learn about terminology and implications for community and practice change.
- Watch the lecture A Framework for culturally-based practice.
To learn more about historical trauma and cultural healing check out these resources:
- Listen to the podcasts on Historical Trauma Remembering Resilience.
- Find your ACEs Score, and your Resilience Score.
- View the presentation The Return to the Sacred Path: Reflections on the Development of Historical Trauma Healing by Maria Yellow Horse Brave Heart, PhD Associate Professor of Psychiatry/Director, Native American & Disparities Research Center for Rural & Community Behavioral Health President, The Takini Institute email@example.com.
- Listen to the Modern Spirit Podcast to explore the role of spiritual healing in modern healthcare.
- Watch The Wellbriety Journey to Forgiveness with Don Coyhis.
Evans-Campbell, T. (2008). Historical trauma in American Indian/Native Alaska communities. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 23(3), pp. 316- 338.