Trauma can be defined as an “extreme, important event against a person’s body or self-concept” (Frideres, 2011, p. 80), and unless measures are taken to counteract the serious injury and harm caused by trauma it can result in the inability of a person to self-heal (Frideres, 2011). Trauma in Aboriginal people started happening over 500 years ago. This trauma is a result of cumulative emotional and psychological wounding resulting from massive group tragedies that have carried across generations (Wesley-Esquimaux & Smolewski, 2004). In the process of colonization Canada attacked the core of the Aboriginal peoples’ identity, their family, language, and spirituality. The term “soul-wound” has been used when describing the historical trauma felt from losing land, lifeways, and cultural as a whole (Frideres, 2011).
The period termed the “cultural transition” that happened soon after Aboriginal peoples made contact with the colonizers, was when they were initially stripped of their cultural authority and social power. Once Aboriginal peoples realized they had minimal control over the devastating events, they began to display behavioural patterns of helplessness and giving up (Wesley-Esquimaux & Smolewski, 2004). These behaviours of helplessness led to many of the Aboriginal peoples choosing to withdraw socially, reduce their cultural and spiritual activities, and engage in repetitive cycles of conflict. The continued acts of conflict in turn led to profound psychological problems (drug addiction, sexual abuse, alcoho...
... middle of paper ...
... tell us: Research findings
from the Sisters in Spirit initiative. Retrieved from http://www.nwac.ca/sites/default
Varcoe, C., & Dick, S. (2008). The intersecting risks of violence and HIV for rural Aboriginal
women in a neo-liberal Canadian context. Journal of Aboriginal Health, 4(1), 42-52.
Retrieved from http://www.naho.ca/jah/english/jah04_01/07ViolenceHIV_42-52.pdf
Wesley-Esquimaux, C. C., & Smolewski, M. (2004). Historic trauma and aboriginal healing/
prepared for the Aboriginal Healing Foundation by Cynthia C. Wesley-Esquimaux,
Magdalena Smolewski. Ottawa: Aboriginal Healing Foundation, 2004.
Wilson, A. (2005). Living well: Aboriginal women, cultural identity and wellness. Centres of
Excellence for Women's Health Research Bulletin, 4(2), 6-8. Retrieved from
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