American Indian Trauma Analysis

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American Indians have undergone years of suffering and disrespect. Centuries ago they were murdered, conquered, and dehumanized to only still be disregarded as second class citizens to this day. Due to this adversity, Native Americans have developed a condition named American Indian Historical Trauma (AIHT). There is many various types of traumas that people could suffer from, but AIHT is specifically for Native Americans that suffer from the horrid past of their people. Some people may find AIHT as an exaggerated form of another illness, but AIHT is a proven condition that has serious consequences. Even though it is usually overlooked, AIHT can be found in many fictional works.
To see how American Indian Historical Trauma affects Native Americans,
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Heart declares, “Manson and colleagues (1996) posit that American Indian youth may demonstrate higher thresholds for trauma and PTSD due to chronic and severe trauma exposure” (284). This quote clearly illustrates how destructive a condition like Historical Trauma is to the psychological mind. In Sherman Alexie’s novel, Indian Killer, the main character, John, clearly seems to have some psychological issues such as the fact that he has an inner desire to murder white people. People could argue that these issues are due to the fact that he is adopted by white parents, and he never got to experience his people’s heritage. However, he is not the only one that has an impulse to murder white people, Alexie wrote, “She wanted every white man to disappear” (85). Alexie is referring to the sandwich lady, Marie, in this quote. This example distinctly shows that due to Historical Trauma, the psychological state of some American Indians have been altered to the point where they have a serious loathing for white people. Usually with illnesses such as PTSD and depression, comes excessive substance …show more content…
Wiechelt observes, “Past-30-day alcohol use was reported by 40.8% of participants. Most had used marijuana in their lifetime (83.3%), while 25% had used it in the 30 days prior to the survey. Most had also used other illicit drugs in their lifetime (70.8%), with 25.8% using other illicit drugs in the past 30 days.”(326) These statistics are all from people that have experienced American Indian Historical Trauma. These observations point out that a majority of the people that undergo AIHT have either consumed alcohol, used drugs, or both within their lifetime. I understand why that is the case. People use alcohol and drugs to escape reality and their thoughts. As you can see from the data, Native Americans engage in substance abuse to try and erase the thoughts of what has happened to their people over the last hundreds of years. In Jeff Barnaby’s film, Rhymes for Young Ghouls, a main component in the movie is centered around substance

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