About Healing

  • Chapter 21: Healing the American Indian Soul Wound by Eduardo Duran, Bonnie Duran, Maria Yellow Horse Brave Heart, and Susan Yellow Horse – Davis in International Handbook of Multigenerational Legacies of Trauma. (Selected pages available from Google Books at above link or chapter is available for purchase from the publisher’s website.) A seminal article that includes discussion of essential elements of healing programs that have worked in Indian country, as well as some data tracking success of one tribal healing program.
  • Healing and Mental Health for Native Americans: Speaking in Red  Ethan Nebelkopf and Mary Phillips, eds., Walnut Creek: Altamira Press, 2004. Book with broad range of articles relating to healing historical trauma. Table of contents and acknowledgements are provided here for those interested in pursuing more info. (preview available at Google Books)
  • see especially,  Chapter4: The Historical Trauma Response among Natives and Its Relationship to Substance Abuse: A Lakota Illustration by Maria Yellow Horse Brave Heart, in  Healing and Mental Health for Native Americans: Speaking in Red, pp. 7-18. This chapter originally was published as an article in Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 35(1), 7-13, 2003. This ambitious article tracks the development of  the Theory of Historical Trauma, provides a tribally-based illustration of the concept, explains how the trauma response may be seen inter-generationally, then continues with further reflections and elucidations about Historical Trauma Response. The references list from the article is an excellent cataloging of groundbreaking articles on historical trauma and related subjects. (See  the reference list and a notable quote from the conclusion .)
  • A Community-Based Treatment for Native American Historical Trauma: Prospects for Evidence-Based Practice, by Joseph P. Gone in Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology (2009). Article discusses content analysis of interviews with traditional healing workers, and suggests that “one important way for psychologists to bridge evidence-based and culturally sensitive treatment paradigms is to partner with indigenous programs in the exploration of locally determined therapeutic outcomes for existing culturally sensitive interventions that are maximally responsive to community needs and interests.”
  • Understanding the Trauma of Sexual Abuse of American Indian Children by Barbara Graham Bettelyoun, Ph.D. Testimony to the Task Force on American Indian and Alaska Native Children Exposed to Violence (Bismark, ND. December 9, 2013). Article is available at page 69 of the hearing briefing binder. The full documentation from the hearing is at the Department of Justice website. About childhood sexual abuse and historical trauma and healing.
  • Exploring Irish Multigenerational Trauma and its’ Healing: Lessons from the Oglala Lakota (Sioux) by Kenneth Coll, et al. in Journal of Rural Community Psychology, Vol. E15 (1). This article discusses how historical trauma work done in a native community can be of use to people of Irish descent as well.
  • We Have to Know It to Heal It: Defining and Dealing With Historical Trauma by Mary Annette Pember, Indian Country Today Media Network Dec. 1, 2014.   Sweeping scope article starts with personal reflections on the trauma that has impacted the author and her family, places that trauma in the context of history, and provides a view of hope in discussing modern advances in healing and how native cultures and spirituality can be central to successful recovery.
  • Traditional Over Conventional Therapies When it Comes to Native Vets and PTSD by Richard Walker; Indian Country Today Media Network. December 11, 2014. Article discusses a study of Native veterans, who expressed an overall preference for traditional healing modalities to treat combat-related PTSD.
  • “Our Culture Is Medicine”: Perspectives of Native Healers on Posttrauma Recovery Among American Indian and Alaska Native Patients by Deborah Bassett, et al. The Permanente Journal (Winter 2012, Vol 16, No 1). Results of in-depth interviews with six traditional healers about perspectives on trauma and healing. Implications include a need for improving cultural competence among heath care and social services personnel working with Native patients who have been  traumatized.
  • A Fearless Fight Against Historical Trauma, the Yup’ik Way by Mary Annette Pember, Indian Country Today Media Network, March 16, 2015. Healing Historical Trauma with a native model at the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation. Great example of how we can all move forward by drawing from our roots.
  • In the Light of Justice: The Rise of Human Rights in Native America and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by Walter Echo-Hawk, especially Chapter 10 Fulcrum Publishing, 2013.   This comprehensive book about the context and implications of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples includes a chapter discussing in detail the process and theory of healing from past wrongs. (available for purchase from the author)
  • Reconciliation, Justice, and Coexistence: Theory and Practice by Mohammed Abu-Nimer, Lexington Books 2001. Much can be learned from attempts to heal past wrongs in other places in the world; from attempts by previously conflicting communities to move ahead in coexistence after one has harmed the other.   This book is commonly recognized as a leading  collection of essays by experts in the field worldwide. The table of contents and introduction are provided for more information. (available for purchase from Amazon)
  • Healing Our Spirits Worldwide, 4th gathering: Conference Program and Materials, September 2-6, 2002, Albuquerque, NM. The event was billed as “A cultural celebration inviting the world to share the healing experiences of Indigenous People in the movement toward Self-Determination” and the conference program included several sessions on Historical Trauma and boarding or residential schools.
  • Rhythms of Recovery: Trauma, Nature, and the Body by Leslie R. Korn, Routledge 2013. Books explores many healing traditions’ responses to help with trauma recovery. From the preface: “For practitioners and students interested in integrating the insights of complementary/alternative medicine and 21st-century science, this deeply appealing book is an ideal guide.” (available for purchase from Amazon)
  • Mapping The Healing Journey: The final report of a First Nation Research Project on Healing in Canadian Aboriginal Communities. Solicitor General Canada and the Aboriginal Healing Foundation. APC 21 CA. 2002
  • A Loss for Words: Can a dying language be saved? By Judith Thurman. The New Yorker. March 30, 2015. Article describes how endangered languages got that way, including boarding schools, and then how some of those languages are being revived—sometimes in most unexpected ways.
  • What a Shaman Sees in A Mental Hospital by Stephanie Marohn with Malidoma Patrice Somé. The Mind Unleashed. August 25, 2014.  Although not specific to boarding school healing, this article touches upon the role of ritual in indigenous healing practices worldwide.

Resources for Healing

  • Pathway to Hope: An indigenous approach to healing child sexual abuse by D. Payne, K. Olson, and J. Parrish,  Int J Circumpolar Health 2013, 72: 21067. This article describes a healing model developed among Alaska Natives, but also adapted to other tribal cultures, and utilizing a uniquely indigenous and community based approach to healing from historical and contemporaneous traumas.
  • A Return to Wellness (Indigenous Wellness Research Institute (IWRI)) This 20-minute video summarizes the philosophies, mission, and focus of the IWRI. The film provides a suitable introduction to the institution and how the institution sees its mission as unique.
  • To Live to See the Great Day that Dawns is a suicide prevention publication of the U.S. Government’s SAMHSA and can be ordered for free from their online store. This three page excerpt  on Historical Trauma and Community Readiness discusses how communities can become ready to adequately begin healing processes. Not all communities are in the same state of readiness, but all can work towards being ready.
  • ‘The Great Hurt’: Facing the Trauma of Indian Boarding Schools by Mary A. Pember, Indian Country Today, 12/4/2014. About a play that is being used in some communities to help with healing from historical trauma and educating about why harms from the past are of great importance today.
  • Mental Health Care for Urban Indians: Clinical Insights from Native Practitioners Tawa M. Witko, ed., American Psychological Association 2006. (available for purchase from Amazon)
  • Using the Community Readiness Model in Native Communities (2001) by Pamela Jumper-Thurman, etc. Before a community can begin to heal, it must first be ready. This paper discusses a model for evaluating whether a community is ready for intervention in the form of healing, and the model can be used to help a community make itself ready as well.   This is an outgrowth of the work of the Tri-Ethnic Center of Colorado State University, which has published a Community Readiness Handbook.
  • We Shall Remain (The Stylehorse Collective) This uplifting video highlights hope in native youth, taking historical trauma head on, and models some simple healing strategies and outlooks.
  • Healing the Warrior’s Heart (Trailer) This film produced by the Western Folklife Center addresses soldiers’ healing from the emotional trauma (PTSD) of war by using traditional ceremonial methods.
  • Lateral Violence (video). Bearpaw Media Productions. Copyright 2006 Native Counselling Services of Alberta. This 20-minute video explores the roots and solutions for lateral violence in Canda’s aboriginal communities.

Note: These links are provided for information and do not necessarily represent the views of the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition.