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Multiculturalism and Social Work | San Francisco State University

The return to the sacred path: healing the historical trauma and historical unresolved grief response among the Lakota through a psychoeducational group intervention.

Author: Yellow Horse Brave Heart, M.
Author Background:
Date 6/1/98
Type Journal
Journal Title: Smith-College-Studies-in-Social-Work
Volume/Pages 68(3) p. 287-305
Subject Matter Native Americans
Abstract This article, based on research conducted with Lakota human service providers, concludes that the Lakota (Teton Sioux) suffer from impaired grief of an enduring and pervasive quality. Impaired grief results from massivecumulative trauma associated with such cataclysmic events as the assassination of Sitting Bull, the Wounded Knee Massacre, and the forced removal of Lakota children to boarding schools. The research studied a culturally syntonicfour-day psychoeducational intervention designed to initiate a grief resolution process for a group of 45 Lakota human service providers. The methodology included assessment at three intervals: (1) a pre- and post-test, utilizing aLakota Grief Experience Questionnaire and the semantic differential, (2) a self-report evaluation instrument at the end of the intervention, and (3) a six-week follow-up questionnaire. The results confirmed the hypotheses that: (1)education about historical trauma would lead to increased awareness of the impact and associated grief related affects of the traumatic Lakota history, (2) sharing the affects with other Lakota in a traditional context would providecathartic relief, and (3) grief resolution would be initiated, including a reduction in grief affects, more positive identity, and a commitment to individual and community healing.