Physical and mental health illnesses are a reality for far too many Native Americans and so is the fact that they are routinely ignored by this country
Exterminate, remove, assimilate, terminate, relocate. Most Americans will have no context for the relationship of these words to each other. Most Americans Indians will recognize them immediately. They align with US federal policies that were implemented from the late 1700s through to 1978 in order to solve the “Indian problem” and allow for Euro-American expansion. The result of these injustices is an unresolved grief that underlies our American Indian reality in 2019. Mental health expert Dr Maria Yellow Horse Brave Heart calls it “historical trauma”. She writes: “This phenomenon … contributes to the current social pathology of high rates of suicide, homicide, domestic violence, child abuse, alcoholism and other social problems among American Indians.” This trauma, in other words, is making us sick. And so is the fact that it is routinely ignored by the rest of the country.
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