ERIC Number: ED328388
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1990
Reference Count: N/A
Post-Traumatic Stress: What Some Indian Youth and Vietnam Veterans Have in Common. How Can We Help?
Native American Development Corp., Washington, DC.
Stress can make a person more apt to abuse alcohol and drugs. Based on interviews with Phil Tingley, president of the National Indian Social Workers Association, this booklet suggests that some Native American youth are victims of a special kind of stress--post-traumatic stress (PTS). PTS symptoms are delayed mental and physical responses to severe trauma. Secondary PTS may affect individuals close to someone affected by severe trauma. For the past five generations, Native Americans have experienced one cultural and individual trauma after another. Many Indian youth are caught up in an accelerating spiral of pain and despair. New primary traumas occur as negative behaviors generated by PTS take their toll. The desire for relief increases, and alcohol and drugs offer escape. To deal with PTS, Native Americans, as a community, must allow themselves to experience the grief process. Grieving often leads to anger and a search to establish blame, but this process can result in accepting and forgiving the behavior of oneself and others and focusing on healthy choices for the future. Indian communities have the power to heal themselves by drawing on traditional cultural practices for confronting problems. As trauma is confronted, the release may be explosive and help may be necessary. Resources are available within the tribe. Community events and ceremonies that strengthen tribal and family support networks can significantly help people struggling with PTS. (SV)
Descriptors: American Indians, Community Action, Community Problems, Community Resources, Grief, Social Support Groups, Stress Variables, Substance Abuse, Tribes, Youth
Native American Development Corporation, 1000 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 1206, Washington, DC 20036.
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, Washington, DC. School Improvement Programs.
Authoring Institution: Native American Development Corp., Washington, DC.