Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Holistic Health Studies


Holistic Health

First Advisor

Carol Geisler


Holistic Health Studies


American Indians in the United States have endured a collective history of deliberate mass extermination efforts for over 500 years, resulting in cumulative emotional and psychological trauma across generations, termed Historical Trauma (HT). Mounting research explores the myriad of responses (psychological, physical, mental and spiritual) to this trauma, known as Historical Trauma Response (HTR), within current American Indian populations. The majority of research regarding HT pertains to historical tragedies, inequities, disparities, and ongoing systematically induced deficits in American Indian populations with an emphasis on what can be done to fix it. Furthermore, contemporary Western research has not integrated American Indian perspectives and healing from HT. Based on Indigenous Inquiry and using a Talking Circle method, this qualitative study describes 10 American Indian perspectives on healing HT. The Talking Circle process of storytelling illuminated elements of an interrelated path of healing. Themes that arose from collaborator’s narratives are: connection, traditional healing, and purpose. These results offer insight into the strengths of American Indian ancestry and culture and highlight them as important components to healing HT through community. This study provides insight for American Indian community leaders as well as policy makers, educators and healthcare professionals working with American Indian populations. There is need for further research to explore Indigenous research methods, and to further validate and engage American Indians in healing through traditional ways.