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Residential School Syndrome or Historic Trauma: finding what works. Lloyd Hawkeye Robertson Ph.D. student Counselling Psychology University of Calgary Website: www.hawkeyeassociates.ca. Objectives.
Lloyd Hawkeye Robertson
University of Calgary
“I want to make the map from the Cape to Cairo red.” (Military Conquest)
“The flag is a commercial asset.” (Economic Imperialism)
“The White mans’ burden.” (Cultural Imperialism)
- Chief Piapot, 1871
"The concept of God...corresponds best to man's dark longing to reach perfection."
"If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple."
(Luke 14:26, "The Holy Bible, King James Version")
“They are in general very lazy, even more so than the Negroes, who have a great heat as their excuse; but the Indians living in the most healthy climate in the world, in a bracing air, have only neglected their mental as well as their bodily powers, and a good discipline is wanted to change them in a lapse of time to really useful working people.“
(Mme. Capelle, Superintendent of an all-girls' school, 1877, quoted in Barman, Hebra, & McCaskill, 1986 p. 78)
"At the mission, the truck backed-up and off we went. Right away, boys were separated from girls. We were lined up, sat on chairs, and had our long, beautiful braided hair chopped off. We were thrown into the shower, then had DDT sprinkled all over. It stunk. They gave me a number 79. My name was gone. I was only a number now. We all had the same little bundle of clothing, pinafores, back clothes, socks. You couldn't tell one kid from the other; they transformed individuals into a group. I don't understand how my Shuswap language was turned into English in just one day."
(Elder, Agnes Snow, 1999)
Beliefs and traditions
Use Adlerian family constellation to determine initial self
beliefs and traditions
Memetic transference in a colonial society
Hawkeye Associates, 2003
Hawkeye Associates, 2003
"Animate beings are fully human if they are in possession of a theory - a theory about themselves. It is a theory in terms of which a being orders, partitions, and reflects on its own experience and becomes capable of self intervention and control." (Harre, 1989 p. 404)
"The experience of self-validation is characterized by any or all of the following thematic components:
(a) security, comfort, and support as opposed to insecurity, discomfort, and abandonment;
(b) self-worth and self-acceptance as opposed to self-depreciation and self-rejection;
(c) competence and autonomy vs. incompetence and helplessness;
(d) identity and belonging vs. identity loss and alienation; and,
(e) love, fulfillment, and meaning in life vs. lovelessness, emptiness and meaninglessness …
Cultural dislocation may therefore manifest as undervalidation or invalidation of self." (Ishu Ishiama, 1995)
Ninety percent experienced sexual abuse at residential school
Sample of 127 British Columbia survivor-litigants:
(Corrado & Cohen, 2003)
Only two of the participants did not suffer from at least one diagnosable mental disorder. The most common mental disorders were:
Specifically, Residential School Syndrome involves: recurrent intrusive memories, occasional flashbacks and quite striking avoidance of anything that might be reminiscent of the Indian residential school experience. At the same time there is an emotional detachment from others and relationship difficulties are common. There is often a diminished interest in a participation in aboriginal cultural activities and markedly deficient knowledge of traditional knowledge and skills. Often there is markedly increased arousal including sleep difficulties, anger management difficulties, and impaired concentration. As might be the case for anyone attending a boarding school with inadequate parenting, parenting skills are often deficient. Strikingly there is a tendency to abuse alcohol or sedative drugs, often starting at a very young age. (Brasfield, 2001 p. 79)
(Corrado & Cohen, 2003 p. 52)
“Culture is linked to resilience by two principle aspects. On the one hand cultural norms condition parent-child interactions in ways that can either facilitate or constrain the development of protective factors. On the other hand, manifestations of one's culture (for example, traditions, ceremonies and language) are often important sources of pride and self-esteem serving to support individuals in their struggle against adversity."
(Stout & Kipling, 2003) p. 23
1) re-process traumatic experience,
2) control and mastering biological stress reactions,
3) re-establish secure social connections and inter-personal efficacy
"Aboriginal people...must be given enough information about their history to recognize the often illogical nature of the convictions some people hold on Indigenous people and an opportunity to revise their beliefs.”
(Wesley-Esquimaux & Smolewski, Aboriginal Healing Foundation)
insight-giving psychotherapy, behavioral therapy, group therapy, relationship and family therapy
"...the past has passed. It has no magical, automatic effect on the present or future. At worst, your past habits make it harder for you to change than to be the way you are right now. Harder but not impossible." (Ellis & Harper, 1997 p. 195)
"Leave Jesus on the cross. He's very happy there.... Don't ask him 'why are you there crucified?‘ He'd go bananas trying to explain.... So I did that. He said hello to me and goodbye.“
(Carlos Casteneda in Epstein, 1996 p. 31)
Qualitative study of Amerindian people in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside neighborhood. 31 aboriginal people took part in 1-hr individual interviews that gathered information on the subjects, backgrounds, their views on wellness, their individual strengths, and the strengths of the community. It was concluded that supporting existing strengths promotes wellness in holistic, culturally appropriate, and empowering ways.
(van Uchelen, Davidson, Quressette, Brasfield, & Demarais, 1997)
Survivors reported the need for support, sharing of stories (healing circles, humour), learning (academic, about colonialism, and spirituality)
The authors also recommend:
(Stout and Kipling, 2003)
Qualitative research on a group of non-native people with psoriasis
Over half the sample improved, one dramatically
(Young et. al., 1988)
"To choose our cultures, to choose our practices, our beliefs, and our values, to so choose our identities according to rational bases, is to be responsible for ourselves."
Peg Tittle, 1996