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Qual Health Res. 2012 Aug;22(8):1019-36. doi: 10.1177/1049732312450324. Epub 2012 Jun 15.

"We're still in a struggle": Diné resilience, survival, historical trauma, and healing.

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  • 1University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87131, USA.


As part of a community/university collaborative effort to promote the mental health and well-being of Diné (Navajo) youth, we explored the relevance of addressing historical trauma and current structural stressors, and of building on individual and community strengths through healing and social transformation at multiple levels. Qualitative analyses of 74 ethnographic interviews with 37 Diné youth, parents, and grandparents suggested that a focus on historical trauma as a conceptual frame for behavioral health inequities, understood within the context of resilience and survival, is appropriate. Our findings also highlight the salience of current stressors such as poverty and violence exposure. We explore the fit of an historical trauma healing framework and present implications for intervention and transformation through revitalization of traditional knowledge, culturally based healing practices, intergenerational education, and social change strategies designed to eliminate social inequities.

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