HISTORICAL TRAUMA & FAMILY ENGAGEMENT STRATEGIES For Educators & Families OBJECTIVES • Become acquainted with the boarding school era & the history of Indian Education. • Understand the impact of Historical Trauma on student learning. • Learn strategies to engage Native students & families in our schools. 1492 Christopher Columbus arrived in the Caribbean on October 12th 1492 to encounter a diverse Indigenous population. Columbus had an uncontrollable lust for gold. He enslaved thousands of Taino people, launching an insidious genocidal ideology in North America. “…they were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features....They would make fine servants....With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.“ -Christopher Columbus Extermination By 1496, 4 million Indigenous people had died by slavery, torture, murder, disease, and terrorism. By 1535, an entire culture was decimated. An estimated 8-10 million people dead. "The destruction of the Indians of the Americas was, far and away, the most massive act of genocide in the history of the world." ~David E. Stannard. What is Genocide? United Nations Convention on Genocide in 1948 defines characteristics of Genocide: • Killing members of the group causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group • Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part The systematic killing of all the people from a national, ethnic, or religious group, or an attempt to do this. • Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group • Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group. Historical Trauma Cumulative emotional and psychological wounding over the lifespan and across generations, emanating from massive group trauma. - Dr. Maria YellowHorse-BraveHeart Traumatic Events • Warfare/Biological Warfare • Loss of land base & resources • Ongoing treaty violations • Relocation/Removal • Reservation confinement • Prohibition of spiritual & cultural practices • Forced sterilization • Community massacres • Indian mascots • Boarding schools/assimilation • Introduction to alcohol Historical Timeline 1616 – Smallpox decimates Native population in New England 1831 – Supreme Court Case between Cherokee Nations vs. Georgia 1851 – Fort Laramie Treaties were signed 1853 – Extermination of tribes in California 1862 – 38 Dakota hung in Mankato 1876 – Battle of Little Big Horn 1877 – U.S. Govt. seized the Black Hills in violation of treaty agreement 1887 – Dawes (Allotment) Act 1889 – Ghost Dance Movement begins 1890 – Over 300 Lakota were massacred at Wounded Knee, South Dakota 1893 – Boarding School Policy 1917 – More than 17,000 Indians enlist in military during WWI 1924 – American Indians are granted citizenship Historical Timeline 1928 – Meriam Report published illustrating dire situation of Indians 1934 – Johnson O’Malley Act established 1944 – National Congress of American Indians established 1953 – Termination & Relocation Era 1968 – American Indian Movement & Women of All Red Nations 1972 – Indian Education Act 1978 – Indian Child Welfare Act 1978 – Indian Religious Freedom Act 1990 – Native Language Act 1996 – Clinton declares Nov. National American Indian Heritage Month 1996 – Colbell vs. Salazar was filed 2005 – Red Lake School Shooting 2006 – Minneapolis School Board signs historic Memorandum of Agreement Boarding School Education •Mandatory attendance •Military style regiment •Speak only English •Become Christian •Learn farming, a trade, or service skill •Shame of culture and cultural practices •Assimilation Trauma & Brain Development When a developing brain processes consistent violence or trauma: • Neuron receptors cannot make healthy connections • Increases heart rate & develops cardiovascular abnormalities • Programs the brain to signal body to respond in a hypervigilant & unpredictable pattern The human brain is remarkable organ capable of absorbing & storing more bits of information than any other species. Symptoms of Trauma • High suicide rate • High mortality rate • High alcoholism/substance abuse rates • Domestic violence • Child abuse • Low self-esteem • Anxiety/Stress related illnesses • Anger • Shame • Fear/Distrust • Loss of concentration • Isolation • Loss of sleep • Uncomfortable in institutions • Gang activity • Hypersensitivity • Hypervigilent • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome • Poverty Trauma & Student Learning Symptoms of trauma that are not compatible to student learning include: • Poor sleeping & eating habits • Irritable, hypersensitive & aggressive behavior • Extreme temper tantrums • Exaggerated startle response • Problems with concentration or memory • Socially withdrawn • High anxiety • Misinterpretation of verbal & nonverbal cues • Impulsive actions • Poor self regulation & time management Cultural Identity Acculturation is a TEMPORARY state. A process by which an individual or group socially adapts to a new situation Assimilation is a PERMANENT state. A process by which an individual or group is absorbed into another group or culture. If we didn’t experience the trauma, how could we have symptoms? First degree relatives of those with PTSD have a higher rate of anxiety and substance abuse Children of substance abusers attempt suicide at a higher rate Children from parents with anxiety or depression have an increase risk of developing similar mood disorders. Strategies to Engaging Native students • Be respectful with students • Build trust by showing kindness, honesty & openness • Get to know student • Create a positive environment • Be fair and sincere • Provide options or choices in assignments • Teach units that reflect Native American culture & history • Make students accountable & require them to do the work • Have a sense of humor! • Use hands on activities • Utilize a softer tone of voice • Play music & provide creative opportunities • Find experiential learning opportunities to fulfill academic standards • Use Ojibwe/Dakota words when possible • Build upon student strengths & interests Further Resources • “The Canary Effect”, a 2006 documentary by Robin Davey & Yellow Thunder Woman • “Beloved Child: A Dakota Way of Life”, a 2011 book by Diane Wilson • “Everything You Wanted to Know About Indians But Were Afraid to Ask”, a 2012 book by Dr. Anton Treuer • “Kill the Indian, Save the Man”, a 2003 book by Ward Churchill • “American Holocaust”, a 1992 book by David Stannard • “In the White Man’s Image”, a 2007 PBS film hosted by David McCullogh • “Rethinking Columbus”, a 1996 book for teachers edited by Bigelow & Peterson Acknowledgements • Sorkness, Harold L., and Lynn Kelting-Gibson. "Effective Teaching Strategies for Engaging Native American Students." (2006): 1-16. Web. • Our Spirits Don't Speak English: Indian Boarding School. Dir. Chip Richie. Perf. Grace Thorpe. 2008. DVD. • "History of Indian Education - OIE." History of Indian Education - OIE. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 June 2014. • "Indian Education Department." Indian Education Department. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 June 2014. • Beardslee, WR & Wheelock, I.(1994). Children of parents with affective disorders: Empirical findings and clinical implications. In W.M. Reynolds & H.F. Johnson (Eds) Handbook of depression in children and adolescents (pp.463-479). New York: Plenum. • Segal, B. (in press) Personal violence and historical trauma among Alaska Native pre-teen girls, and adolescent girls and women in treatment for substance abuse, in Brave Heart, DeBruyn, Segal, Taylor, & Daw (Eds) Historical Trauma within the American experience: Roots, effects and healing. New York: Haworth Press. • Brave Heart, M.Y.H.(2003). The historical trauma response among Natives and its relationship with substance abuse: a Lakota illustration, Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 35(1), 7-13.