Traumatic Experiences have Disastrous Effects on Native Americans

by hunter_c on April 6, 2016 - 4:51pm

An academic journal entitled, “Childhood Physical and Sexual Abuse and Subsequent Depressive and Anxiety Disorders for Two American Indian Tribe” published by the Psychological Medicine in 2005 reveals the tremendous impact that childhood trauma in Native American communities has on children and the lasting effects it has when they become adults. The researchers studied 3, 084 Native Americans from two different tribes, and the participants were asked about family history, major traumatic events in their lifetime, and they were tested for depression and various anxiety disorders. The results were almost identical for both tribes, childhood physical abuse occurred to approximately 14.87% of the population (about 460 of the participants), and approximately 9.27% of the population experienced sexual abuse (about 280 of the participants) as well evidence of sexual abuse before the age of 16. Furthermore, approximately 18.97% of the population (approximately 586 of the participants) were diagnosed with a depression and a shocking 29.85% were diagnosed with PTSD (approximately 925 of participants). Additionally, 69.32% of participants reporting have financial struggles in their family as children (over 2,000 participants). These traumatic experiences combined with depression often lead to addictive disorders in both men and women in adulthood, as well as risky sexual behaviour. Over 62% of participants reported having some sort of drug/alcohol addiction as adults (over 1,900 participants).

All of this to say, the horrible events that occur to Native American children affect them greatly later on in life and it causes various psychiatric disorders that could have been averted if these things simply hadn’t happened to them. This academic journal is linked to my previous post because it puts things into perspective, and the statistical damage that it causes makes everything seem more “real.” As I’ve mentioned before, there is a large disconnect between the Native American community and the rest of the continent, and reading an article online about something that happened “over there” about one person or one situation just doesn’t hit people. But having knowledge about the tremendous damage that it causes, that it’s happened to literally hundreds of kids, and to be honest it can happen to anyone’s kids, just puts this topic in a different light. It’s not just a couple of people far away, it’s literally thousands of people in our backyard being abused and neglected while everyone turns a blind eye. This study done is proof that the news being reported in not embellished nor untrue, the things happening are very real as well as the consequences and something has to be done about it to prevent further damage. I believe this academic journal will make people take the news more seriously when it comes to Native American abuse, as well as the news summary I wrote on abuse against Native American children. 



Libby, Anne M., Heather D. Orton, Douglas K. Novins, Janette Beals, and Spero M. Manson. "Childhood Physical and Sexual Abuse and Subsequent Depressive and Anxiety Disorders for Two American Indian Tribes." Psychological Medicine Psychol. Med. 35.3 (2005): 329-40. Web.


Issues relating to the oppressed native population in America and the consequences of their societal seclusion following events considered traumatic for certain of these individuals are discussed in this post, both problems rarely addressed in Western Liberal democracies. However, the most thought-provoking analysis provided in this piece is the superposition of the American Indian exclusion with the already existing discrimination against this ethnic group. Another level of analysis that could be extended from this publication would be the addition of a gender-related factor to this formula of oppression for native populations. This concept is often regarded as intersectionality: an accumulation of discriminatory statuses that add up to an individual experience of hatred and a lack of opportunities. For this specific circumstance, the status of women within the international patriarchy can be added up with the previously mentioned variables of seclusion and ethnic-related prejudice. Analyzing that experience and acknowledging the differences that can erupt is key to all-inclusive articles, and could bring a great new point of view to such a comprehensive post. Here is a Wikipedia page further explaining the concept of intersectionality, including descriptions that very much so apply to the topic of this post: .

This is indeed an interesting and horrible issue concerning the native Americans experiencing traumatic events as child then having impacts on their later stage of life. Yet, it is important to notice that boys and girls might face different rate of physical and sexual abuse thus, having gendered statistics could bring some new and surprising insights on the matter. Currently, the Western Civilization is a Patriarchal World in which the system is highly unfair to women. There exist a thing called the "rape culture" where women victim of rape are blame while their perpetrator get away with murder with almost no consequences. This highly encourages more males in to raping which might explain some of the sexual abuse in this case. This would no longer be a racial issue but an intersectionality issue where gender meets race. A very good example of this is the case concerning native women here in Canada. Although many native people are subject to discrimination, there are more than a thousand of cases of murdered and missing native women in the last 30 years. You can learn more about this issue here:

I really enjoyed all the numbers that put the wording into perspective for me. “62% of participants report having a drug or alcohol addiction during adulthood”, this statistic isn’t really because we have always known that addiction among Native Americans has been high. The reason for this is what shocks me the most. Knowing that so many children have experienced sexual abuse or mistreatment is sickening. Taking a look at intersectionailty would be a great way to see why these problems aren’t being addressed and fixed. The theory of intersectionality is when 2 or more factors come together and put you into a certain category. For instance, we have aboriginal women. The fact that they are women and aboriginal puts them at the lowest notch on the social hierarchy scale. Anything less than a white male or female is automatically inferior in today’s society. We have seen that the rape and murder of young aboriginal women has gone forgotten in Canada. The rape and murder of a white woman would make headlines across the country but when the same situation happens in the aboriginal community it almost isn’t mentioned or investigated. It is a sad truth that is only hurting the aboriginal communities across the world.

Check out this link, it reinforces your arguments and adds in my intersectionality point