Maria Yellow Horse Brave Heart Analysis

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Brave Heart, Maria Yellow Horse, et al. “Historical Trauma Among Indigenous Peoples of the Americas: Concepts, Research, and Clinical Considerations.” Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, vol. 43, no. 4, 2011, pp. 282-290.

In Maria Yellow Horse Brave Heart et al’s argument is that Indigenous Peoples have gone through a history of oppression and racism that has led to the formation of collective trauma across generations, and that there needs to be efforts to fix it. They state how this trauma causes depression and unresolved grief, and how American Indians “rank higher in health disparities than any other racial or ethnic group in the United States” (Brave Heart et al 282). They provide evidence for this by quoting Whitbeck’s research on the symptoms
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McLeigh starts off by giving some background context of historical trauma and the effects of it. She states that the effects are domestic violence, alcoholism, depression, child neglect, etc. She provides evidence from a cultural psychiatrist from the historical event of forcefully assimilating indigenous populations into boarding schools. It shows that the emotional distress, loss of language, and systematic oppression from this event is prevailing in populations today through transgenerational effects. She brings to attention the mental health problems created by this, and explains how social and political actions should be the solution to fixing these. She goes on to shine light on how the health care system fails to provide adequate treatment for American Indians. She gives information on how the government should create a trustful relationship with Native Americans, and provide the best quality care, which she later states that undoubtedly they do not. She backs this up with a study from the U.S. commission on Civil Rights showing that in relative to the U.S. population, Native Americans recieve low funding for services. She argues that since the government has failed, there needs to be a “rights-based approach that recognizes and attempts to address the root cause of mental health problems” in order to solve the issue among Native Americans. It is implied that the root cause is historical trauma. She describes in her argument that it needs to be realized that historical trauma immensely affected Native Americans through oppression and systematic racism, and that traditional factors such as stronger community and family ties, and maintaining their language will make the affects (mental health problem) less rampant. The way she defends this point of view is progressive, and shows it can be effectual in the long run to solve the deep-rooted obstacle of mental health with Native
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