Studies of modern Native Americans have shown that “historical trauma,” the name that social workers give to the perception of historical loss passed down through generations, has been linked to symptoms of emotional distress like anger, anxiety, substance abuse, and even depression. Waln remembers grappling with these manifestations even as a child. “It was very confusing to me,” he says. “I was wondering why I was struggling with depression all the time, why I had suicidal thoughts, why the suicide rate was so high on our reservation. I was very insecure.”
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