Oral Presentation Lowitja Institute International Indigenous Health and Wellbeing Conference 2016

Isht Ahalaya: Transcending Historical Trauma with Loving Responsibility (#77)

Karina Walters 1
  1. University of Washington, Seattle, WA, United States

Research and American Indian community discourse suggest that historical trauma can manifest in risk behaviors and play a significant role in present-day health inequities. Historical trauma which consists of traumatic events targeting a community that cause catastrophic upheaval, have been posited by Native communities to have pernicious intergenerational effects through a myriad of mechanisms from biological to behavioral. Consistent with contemporary societal determinants of health approaches, the impact of historical trauma calls upon researchers to explicitly examine how these processes become embodied, identify how these factors affect the magnitude and distribution of health disparities in Indigenous communities, and design culturally-valid interventions to eradicate such inequities. This presentation will describe a culturally-centered approach to transcending historical trauma. Specifically, we will provide an overview of the design and development of The Yappalli Choctaw Road to Health, a culturally focused, strengths-based outdoor experiential obesity-substance abuse risk prevention and health leadership program designed to develop 150 Choctaw women health leaders throughout Choctaw territory.  We will provide a description of our community-based approach to developing a culturally-specific health promotion model and curriculum that incorporates a 10-day walk on the Trail of Tears. This presentation builds on a growing body of trauma research emphasizing the resiliency of Indigenous communities and the importance of designing interventions based on Indigenous worldviews and ancestral teachings.