Impact of Historical Trauma

Colonialism, has within it mechanisms impacts that actually transfer intergenerationally the cycles of trauma.This is what has been called ‘historical trauma.’ Historical Trauma began during colonization at time of contact, affected large numbers of peoples and was the start of ‘collective distresses – distress which was perpetuated purposefully with the intent of destruction or genocide.

Historical Trauma: see Braveheart and Debruyn 1998; Evans-Campbell 2008; Wesley-Esquimaux and Smolewski 2004)

At the individual level, the impact of trauma from historical trauma manifests itself in depression, anger, anxiety, guilt and symptoms of post traumatic stress.

At the family level the trauma may manifest itself as impaired communication and parenting dysfunction. At the same time the community suffers from breakdown of culture and values which traditionally acted as checks and balances to behaviour which was non-helpful for the community.