Showing posts with label Native American. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Native American. Show all posts

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Wounded warriors find healing the ancient way

It seems as if everyone has heard the term "Wounded Warrior."  

I've been using it since the early 80's because Native Americans have been using it long before I discovered the term while research PTSD. One of the reasons why I used Wounded Minds in the first PTSD video I did in 2006.

I didn't copyright it but they should have!

Veterans With PTSD Find Relief in Native American Rituals
Voice of America
Cecily Hilleary
March 22, 2018

Since ancient times, Native American and Alaskan Natives have held warriors in high esteem and have developed a wide variety of prayers, ceremonies and rituals to honor returning soldiers and ease them back into community life.

Sweat lodge constructed by veterans during a Veterans Community Response retreat, Flying B Ranch, Kamiah, Idaho. Courtesy: Michael Carroll.
“I wasn’t the kind of guy you’d want to meet in a dark alley.”

That’s how U.S. Army veteran Michael Carroll, 39, from Spokane, Wash., described himself after coming home in 2004 after serving 18 months in Iraq.

He was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and given an honorable discharge.

“The transition from military to civilian life was definitely unpleasant,” he said. “I was extremely temperamental and hostile, and I lashed out a lot. Anything could trigger me — sounds to smells to seeing trash on the side of the road,” a reminder of explosive devices used against coalition forces in the Iraq war.

Over the next few years, he underwent the standard treatment for PTSD — psychotherapy and medication — which he said did him more harm than good.
read more here

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Native American Church Fights for Sacramental Marijuana?

After Kenwood drug bust, branch of Oklevueha Native American Church seeks court ruling on pot use
Clark Masonthe
January 15, 2016

A sign at the entrance to the property on Lawndale Drive in Kenwood for

a branch of the Oklevueha Native American Church. (Courtesy photo)

In what could be a test case to create a legal category of “sacramental marijuana,” a Kenwood branch of a church co-founded by a man claiming Native American heritage is suing Sonoma County, contending that the branch’s cannabis was wrongfully seized by deputies because its members are entitled to it for religious purposes, similar to exemptions made for peyote and ayahuasca use by some native groups.

Mooney is a medicine man descended from Seminole Indians in Florida and his church serves the Oglala Sioux Tribe of Pine Ridge South Dakota, according to the church’s court filings in the San Francisco case.
read more here

Monday, July 6, 2015

Marine Veteran Featured in New VA PTSD Video

Here are a couple of things to remember. The first is that the VA still has troubles and yes, veterans are suffering needlessly.

Then the second thing is, none of this is new yet Congress has managed to avoid the responsibility of the VA being placed in their care. Yep, it has been the job of Congress to make sure the VA had what it needed and did what it needed to do. That goes back to about 1946 when the first House Veterans Affairs Committee was seated with jurisdiction over the care of veterans. None of these problems are new.

The last thing is that the VA has done a lot of good things and this is one of them.
The VA Rehabilitates Itself
A polished new video series touts veteran success stories. Will the department make more of them happen?
By Phoebe Gavin
July 5, 2015

The video above, from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, has a clear message: rebirth, new opportunities, unlikely success. It’s one of the vignettes in a video series that appears to be a part of a concentrated PR push to rehab the VA’s own image after a notorious series of public failures and scandals.
read more here

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Christian faith and Native-American heritage honor life of Pfc. Keith Williams

Remembering Pfc. Williams
Visalia Times
David Castellon
August 9, 2014
Pictured- Spiritual leaders Mike Sisco, center, Keith Turner, left, and Joey Garfield, not pictured, representing the Tachi, Mono and Tule River tribes, respectively, sing traditional ceremonial songs and blessings for Army Pfc. Keith M. Williams during the funeral Saturday at El Diamante High School.

Family, friends and hundreds of people from the community gather Saturday at El Diamante High School as Army Pfc. Keith M. Williams of Visalia is celebrated with a Native American ceremony and military honors by the California State Honor Guard. Pfc. Williams, 19, of Visalia, CA, died July 24 in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, CO. Pfc. Williams was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. Pfc. Williams is a graduate of El Diamante.(Photo: Steve R. Fujimoto, Steve R. Fujimoto)

In a pair of ceremonies honoring both his Christian faith and his Native-American heritage, a Visalia soldier killed in Afghanistan was honored Saturday.

About 1,100 people nearly filled to capacity the Visalia First Assembly of God Church, where Pfc. Keith M. Williams was baptized as a child and the first of his funeral services were held.

Most in attendance likely didn't know the 19-year-old killed July 24 when an improvised explosive device hit the vehicle he was in that was leading a convoy in Mirugol Kalay, in Afghanistan's Kandahar Province.
read more here

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Marine safe after Harrier crash on Arizona tribal land

Marine jet crash-lands on Gila River tribal land
The Republic
Brenda Carrasco
May 10, 2014

A Marine Corps pilot was safe after his aircraft crash-landed in a desert area on the Gila River Indian Reservation near Sun Lakes on Friday, authorities said.

The pilot of the AV-8B Harrier ejected at about 2:30 p.m. and was found conscious about 2 miles southwest of the crash site.

A Marine spokesperson in San Diego confirmed the aircraft was based out of Marine Corps Air Station Yuma.

read more here

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Alaska Natives slammed by Facebook post by member of Coast Guard

Coast Guardsman under scrutiny for Facebook post
The Associated Press
Published: March 21, 2014

KODIAK, Alaska — A Coast Guard member is under scrutiny after he posted derogatory remarks about Alaska Natives on a Facebook page, and possible actions are being considered in response.

Coast Guard officials said Petty Officer Brandon Upchurch's comments on the "Friends of Kodiak" page are being taken seriously, KMXT reported.

"The Coast Guard holds all our members accountable," Coast Guard spokeswoman Sara Moores said. "Making inappropriate comments isn't tolerated, especially when they have the potential to offend various groups throughout the community."

Upchurch, based in Kodiak, was among people on the Facebook site who were sharing opinions about Kodiak Native groups closing their private land to public use.

In his posting Wednesday, Upchurch said he will still go to Native land to camp and have fires. He went on to say Natives "live like a bunch of bums with trash everywhere. You think that the billions they get from the U.S. Government, they would live like kings."
read more here

Friday, December 21, 2012

Navajo man wants the nation to hear its official apology

Navajo man wants the nation to hear its official apology
By Moni Basu
December 19th, 2012

(CNN) – Buried on page 45 of the 2010 Defense Appropriations Act, after pages on the maintenance and operation of the U.S. military, is an official apology to Native American people.

Mark Charles, a member of the Navajo Nation, stumbled onto the apology about a year ago after he heard GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney say that he would never apologize for America. That comment didn't sit well with Charles - nobody is perfect, he thought.

He wrote a blog post that cited several situations in which he believed it was prudent for America to say sorry. One of them was to native people.

In rare apology, House regrets exclusionary laws targeting Chinese

A reader responded that such an apology had already been issued. Charles went online and found the 2010 Defense Act.

The United States, acting through Congress ... recognizes that there have been years of official depredations, ill-conceived policies, and the breaking of covenants by the federal government regarding Indian tribes; apologizes on behalf of the people of the United States to all native peoples for the many instances of violence, maltreatment, and neglect inflicted on native peoples by citizens of the United States ...

It went on to urge the president to acknowledge the wrongs.
read more here

Friday, November 4, 2011

Native Americans have rich history of military service

REGION: Native Americans have rich history of military service
Published: 03 November 2011

November welcomes cooler weather, federal and state elections in even-numbered years, a national day of Thanksgiving and the celebration and recognition of Native American Heritage Month. This Friday marks another tribute, one that extends beyond the lines of culture, politics and race – Nov. 11 is Veteran’s Day.

Native Americans have a rich history of military service and have fought to protect our Nation, even as tribes were battling for their own freedoms and rights. Indeed, Native Americans fought as soldiers in the Civil War, World War I and other conflicts years before they were even granted U.S. citizenship in 1924.

As a people, Native American military heroes are numerous. It is estimated that 12,000 American Indians served in the United States military in World War I. During World War II, 44,000 Native Americans served the country with valor, including codetalkers from a number of Indian tribes who sent messages using their ancient native languages across military radios on the battlefields.

When Iwo Jima was won, Pima Indian Ira Hayes was one of the six Marines who famously raised the U. S. flag atop Mount Suribachi, an image of sacrifice and victory that was later commemorated in both a U.S. postage stamp and the Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Va.

Cherokee Billy Walkabout, an Airborne Ranger of the 101st, is believed to be the most decorated Indian soldier of the Vietnam War. He received the Distinguished Service Cross, Purple Heart, five Silver Stars and five Bronze Stars.

Twenty-eight Native Americans have earned the highest military distinction of all, the Medal of Honor, including Ernest Childers and Jack C. Montgomery, both from tribes in Oklahoma, who were honored for risking their lives above and beyond the call of duty during World War II.

Today, nearly 190,000 American Indians and Alaska Natives are military veterans, according to the Department of Defense.
read more here

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Native American youth suicide crisis baffles

Native American youth suicide crisis baffles

Associated Press | Posted: Monday, March 21, 2011
POPLAR, Mont. -- Chelle Rose Follette fashioned a noose with her pajamas, tying one end to a closet rod and the other around her neck. When her mother entered the bedroom to put away laundry, she found the 13-year-old hanging.
Ida Follette screamed for her husband, Darrell.
He lifted his child's body, rushed her to the bed and tried to bring her back.
"She was so light, she was so light. And I put her down. I said, 'No, Chelle!'"
But the time had passed for CPR, he said, his voice fading with still raw grief. His wife sat next to him on the couch, sobbing at the retelling.
Here on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, a spasm of youth suicides had caused alarm and confusion even before Chelle's death.The Follettes had talked with her about other local children who had killed themselves. She had assured her parents that they need not worry about her.
read more here
Native American youth suicide crisis baffles

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Sweat lodge trial fuels Native American frustrations

Sweat lodge trial fuels Native American frustrations
By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

Growing up on a reservation in lower Saskatchewan, Alvin Manitopyes learned early to respect the sweat lodge. He was 10 when he attended his first sweat ceremony, and for more than 15 years tribe elders instructed him in his people's ways.

He understands the spiritual mandate he was given as a healer to serve as an intermediary between people and the spirit world. He carries with him the ancient ceremonial songs, passed on through generations.

He knows how the natural elements - earth, fire, water and air - work together to cleanse people, inside and out, and create balance. At 55, he has spent more than 20 years conducting ceremonies in sweat lodges, where water is poured over hot lava rocks as part of a purifying ritual.

"If you have the right to do it, then the environment you're creating is a safe place," says Manitopyes, a public health consultant in Calgary, Alberta, who is Plains Cree and Anishnawbe. "But today we have all kinds of people who observe what's going on and think they can do it themselves. … And that's not a safe place to be."

No example of what worries him is clearer than the case of James Arthur Ray, a self-help guru who led a crowded sweat lodge ceremony that left three people dead. Ray faces manslaughter charges for the deaths allegedly tied to his October 2009 "Spiritual Warrior" retreat outside Sedona, Arizona. His trial began Tuesday.

Ray pleaded not guilty to the charges and has been free on $525,000 bail. Prosecutors say the deaths resulted from Ray's recklessness, an overheated lodge and because he encouraged people to stay inside when they weren't feeling well. His defense team denies those allegations, and attorney Luis Li has called what transpired "a terrible accident, not a crime."
read more here
Sweat lodge trial fuels Native American frustrations

Friday, March 26, 2010

Youth suicides epidemic on tribal reservations

Youth suicides epidemic on tribal reservations
Rates among Native Americans are 10 times the national average

Coloradas Mangus, a sophomore at Ruidoso High School on the Mescalero Apache Reservation, N.M., testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington on Thursday before the Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing on "The Preventable Epidemic: Youth Suicides and the Urgent Need for Mental Health Care Resources in Indian Country."


updated 7:47 p.m. ET, Thurs., March. 25, 2010
WASHINGTON - At 15, high school sophomore Coloradas Mangas knows all too much about suicide.

He's recently had several friends who took their own lives, and he survived a suicide attempt himself.

Coloradas, a member of the Chiricahua Apache tribe, lives on the Mescalero Apache Reservation in New Mexico, where there have been five youth suicides since the start of the school year. All were his friends.

Coloradas went to Capitol Hill Thursday to tell lawmakers about the urgent problem of suicide among Native Americans. Tribal suicide rates are 70 percent higher than for the general population, and the youth suicide rate is even higher. On some reservations youth suicide rates are 10 times the national average.

"Things go wrong that they can't change," Coloradas said, trying to explain the high rate of suicide in his community. "They don't get shown the love they need. They say, 'You don't love me when I was here. Now you love me when I'm not here.' "

On the mountainous Mescalero reservation, located in south-central New Mexico more than 200 miles south of Albuquerque, a single mental health clinic serves a tribe of more than 4,500 people. The closest 24-hour Hotline is in Albuquerque.
read more here

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Death of sheriff stuns community

Death of sheriff stuns community
Cattaraugus Co. Sheriff Dennis John
was found dead
Updated: Wednesday, 19 Aug 2009, 12:23 AM EDT
Published : Tuesday, 18 Aug 2009, 11:37 PM EDT

Lisa Flynn
COLD SPRING, N.Y. (WIVB) - It's the news that has left so many people asking 'why.' Cattaraugus County Sheriff Dennis John was found dead Tuesday with what police say was a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Dennis John was the pride of the Seneca Nation. He spent his career in law enforcement and rose through the ranks to become sheriff of Cattaraugus County, the first Native American sheriff in New York State.

A resident said, "I'm surprised and like you said, shocked."
read more here
Death of sheriff stuns community
linked from CNN

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Mental Health America awarded grant for Native Americans

Mental Health America Awarded Grant To Deliver Culturally Appropriate Support For Native Americans With Serious Mental Illness
Regional Approach to Eliminating
Behavioral Health Disparities
Contact: Steve Vetzner, (703) 797-2588 or

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (March 31, 2009)-Mental Health America today announced it has been awarded a $750,000 grant by Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation to develop culturally appropriate support for Native Americans with serious mental illness and in rural and frontier communities.

The program takes a regional approach toward eliminating behavioral health disparities among Native American and frontier populations.

The funding will be used to develop a peer-to-peer program for use in the Navajo and Ute Nations region in tribal lands in the Four Corners area (the borders of Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona).

Mental Health America will also create education programs to help reduce the stigma and discrimination around mental health disabilities in the frontier and tribal lands of North Dakota.

Among the approaches to be used will be creation of leadership groups within tribal communities focusing on behavioral health, and peer-led mental health programs in tribal and frontier communities. Each year, 30 peer specialists are expected to graduate from peer-to-peer training to staff these programs.

Mental health America will work with MHA affiliates in Utah, New Mexico, Colorado and North Dakota to implement the program.

Many obstacles exist that prevent adequate and culturally competent behavioral health care in rural areas and for Native American populations. These include scarcity of professional staff, a lack of cultural and linguistically competent providers, discrimination and social stigma, a real fear that confidentiality won't be protected, financing and reimbursement issues, insufficient integration of behavioral (mental and substance use) with physical health, little prevention efforts, transportation difficulties and low numbers of providers.

Native Americans suffer from higher rates of suicide, alcohol abuse and/or dependence, post-traumatic stress disorder, fetal alcohol syndrome, poverty, homelessness and unemployment than any other cultural group.
go here for more
Mental Health America Awarded Grant

Monday, September 29, 2008

2 Native Americans shot in possible hate crime

Native American shot in fight with White group
by Alyson Zepeda - Sept. 29, 2008 06:45 PM
The Arizona Republic
A Native American man was shot in the leg and two others were injured Sunday after several White males and females wearing "white pride" T-shirts attacked two of the men. A police bias crimes unit was investigating the case.

The two men, Native Americans ages 48 and 24, were walking home from a store near 48th Avenue and Thunderbird Road when they were confronted and assaulted by several White men and women about 12:30 a.m. Sunday, Phoenix police said.
go here for more

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Gabriel Pico, the leader of the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians dies after brawl

Tribal leader dies after attending DNC
DENVER, Sept. 4 (UPI) -- A California tribal leader has died following an altercation in Denver where he had just attended the Democratic National Convention, police say.

Denver police spokesman Sonny Jackson said Gabriel Pico, the leader of the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians in Southern California, apparently died of injuries he suffered during a brawl with a bouncer at a Denver strip club, The Denver Post said Thursday.

Jackson said details of Saturday's incident were not available and an exact cause of death was pending medical tests.
click post title for more

Monday, March 3, 2008

Native Americans take pride in Medal of Honor recipient Keeble’s story

Native Americans take pride in Medal of Honor recipient Keeble’s story
By Leo Shane III, Stars and Stripes
Pacific edition, Wednesday, March 5, 2008

WASHINGTON — Master Sgt. Woodrow Wilson Keeble is the first full-blooded Sioux Indian to receive the Medal of Honor, a point of pride for both his tribe and the larger Native American community.

“The history of [Native American military service] is well known to our younger generation, but probably not in mainstream America,” said Robert Holden, deputy director of the National Congress of American Indians.

“But they’ve continued a long line of warrior tradition. It’s their duty.”

Keeble was born on the Lake Traverse Indian Reservation, home to the Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux — on the North Dakota-South Dakota border — and spent nearly all of his pre-Army life on tribal lands. After his service in World War II and Korea, he returned there to live and work with the community.
go here for the rest

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Master Sgt. Woodrow Keeble Medal of Honor

Medal of Honor going to Native American soldier
By Leo Shane III, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Saturday, February 23, 2008

WASHINGTON — A Native American soldier who fought in World War II and the Korean War will be posthumously honored with the Medal of Honor next month, White House officials announced Friday.

Retired Master Sgt. Woodrow Keeble, a South Dakota native who died in 1984, will be recognized for actions in North Korea in October 1951. According to Army records, he ignored life-threatening wounds to take out three mountainside enemy pillboxes which had pinned down a U.S. platoon.

Keeble was initially awarded a Distinguished Service Cross, a Silver Star and a Purple Heart for those actions, but members of his state’s congressional delegation have pushed for Medal of Honor recognition for him for years.

Army records say Keeble displayed “extraordinary heroism and completely selfless devotion to duty” during his assault on enemy troops in Korea.

After seeing an advance platoon was pinned down by gunfire, Keeble rushed from his support unit to the front line. He then crawled ahead to take out three enemy positions with grenades, despite intense fire trained on him as he moved along the mountainside.

go here for the rest

Thursday, November 22, 2007

American Indians come to rescue again

It's Thanksgiving Day. We all know what it means to us and the traditions we have. What we fail to remember is that it was the American Indians compassion that provided us with the bounty. Most Indians regard this day as Genocide Day. Yet these Americans come to the rescue over and over again. They are still doing it with their ancient healing for the war wounded warriors.

American Indian wisdom could help non-Indian war veterans

By Laurie SwensonBemidji Pioneer

A scholar of American Indian studies wants to see American Indian rituals inspire non-Indians to develop their own rituals to welcome home war veterans and help curb post-traumatic stress disorder among war veterans.
“This is a critical part of our history,” said Larry Gross, a visiting scholar at Bemidji State University. “We have these veterans coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan.”
Gross, who has a master’s degree from Harvard University and a doctorate from Stanford University, is a member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe enrolled with the White Earth Band. He is conducting research in the Bemidji area on storytelling and cultural survival among the Anishinabe. Part of his research includes the writings of Jim Northrup, a noted Anishinabe writer and a Vietnam veteran affected by PTSD.
Gross and Northrup presented a joint lecture Thursday night for about 40 people in BSU’s Crying Wolf Room, the first installment of a series sponsored by A.C. Clark Library. The lecture was arranged by Ron Edwards, university librarian.
“When I look around Indian country, Indians have their ways,” Gross said, noting that Indians welcome home veterans, honor their service, reintegrate them and make use of their experiences, but non-Indian communities do not have similar rituals.
“I have a vision,” he said. “My vision is that by the time the Minnesota National Guard unit comes back from Iraq in July … churches all around the state will have these rituals set up. I’m hoping to find people who will work with me on this.”
He also envisions a national movement that would bring a Veterans Day ceremony to the Washington National Cathedral.
Battling memories
Northrup’s talk Thursday was peppered with humor, which he said is another survival tool in the ongoing battle against post-traumatic stress disorder.
“I had PTSD before I knew it had a name,” he said. “I knew I wasn’t the same person I was before I went there.”
Northrup, born on the Fond du Lac Reservation and who lives in Sawyer on the reservation, entered the U.S. Marine Corps after high school in 1961. He went to Vietnam in September 1965, serving with India Company, 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines.

There is documentation of PTSD in medical literature of the American Civil War (a similar disorder was called “Da Costa’s Syndrome”).
Soldiers in our Civil War who developed PTSD were said to have “soldier’s heart” or “nostalgia.” Freud’s pupil Kardiner was the first to describe the symptoms that came to be known as PTSD in the scientific community. But the first to “specifically diagnose mental disease as a result of war stress and try to treat it” were the Russians during the Russo-Japanese War, 1904-1905.In World War I, PTSD was called shell shock. It was named by medical officer Charles Myers, as it was initially believed to be a physical injury to the nerves due to close proximity to bombs, etc. The symptoms included sympathy pains (seeing/inflicting a gruesome face injury resulted in a person developing tics in their own faces, for example).
During World War II it came to be known as battle fatigue. Throughout both world wars, developing knowledge of the condition, its causes and treatments was slight at best and fraught with misunderstanding. Both the military command and medical professionals were highly skeptical of it, to put it mildly. Military leaders felt that a soldier’s first battle should “steel the combatants against any ‘future stresses’”.
Civilians, leaders and doctors could neither understand nor sympathize with those suffering, and believed combat stress reaction (the military’s term for PTSD) was due to the sufferer’s weakness and/or cowardice.PTSD was brought to the world’s attention as a legitimate disorder only after Vietnam veterans vocally insisted on the condition’s recognition. The veterans’ success can mostly be seen in the disorder’s addition to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)...and the reason that PTSD is mostly associated with them. For years, it was actually called “Post-Vietnam Syndrome.” It is this inclusion in the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM that brought the research and recognition of medical professionals that allows them to successfully diagnose and help treat those suffering from PTSD.

They helped us out throughout history. This is a picture of some Code Talkers.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Prevalence of PTSD 45 to 57% American Indian Vietnam Veterans

If you want an answer, it is a good place to begin where the most answers can be found. If you look at the Native Americans, dealing with PTSD since they first set foot on this land, then had to deal with other tribes as well as the "whites" coming to take their land, you have hundreds, if not thousands of years to look back on. While non-Indian veterans returned from Vietnam and scattered across the country, most Native Indians returned to their communities.

There are many psychology students trying to understand the relationship between mind, spirit and body. The documented evidence between war and the consequence paid by the spirit have been found within ancient documents across the globe. We can learn a great deal from ancient cultures. The American Indians are a living history of the answers we need to find.

The American Indian Vietnam Veterans Project found lifetime prevalence of PTSD to be 45 to 57% among AI veterans, rates significantly higher than among other Vietnam veterans.

PTSD and the Legacy of War Among American Indian & Alaska Native Veterans
For Mental Health Care Providers
Run time: 54 min, in 9 parts

Contains interviews with native veterans and family members, providing powerful personal examples of military experience and readjustment to civilian life. Also describes experiences and perceptions about problems that occur when seeking or obtaining assistance from the VA, the Indian Health Service (IHS), community and tribal resources.

Will help staff recognize the cultural impact on the veteran and enable them to interact with the veteran in a manner that demonstrates respect for the cultural and social values, as well as the spiritual and emotional needs of those suffering from PTSD.
Title of Section
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Part 1: Introduction
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Part 2: Overview
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Part 3: Interviews
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Part 4: The Nature of PTSD
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Part 5: Cultural Formulation
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Part 6: Cultural Factors
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Part 7: Factors, Families
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Part 8: Traditional Medicine
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Part 9: Psychotherapy
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Also available in version for:

General Audiences

Native Veterans and their Families

Health Care Providers * (*with web based electronic guide)

Native Americans and Military Service
American Indian and Alaska Native veterans have a proud history of service in the United States military. Unfortunately, the stereotype that American Indians are members of a martial race is at least as old as the U.S. itself. For example, Colonel James Smith, held captive by an unnamed Indian tribe between 1755 and 1759, wrote an account of American Indian modes of warfare that was accurate enough to popularize the idea that Indians were uniquely brave and adept warriors. Later, Secretary of the Interior Ickes furthered these ideas in his writings for a national magazine, saying that, "the rigors of combat hold no terror for American Indians and, better than all else, they have an enthusiasm for fighting." Thus, by the end of World War II, the stereotype of the American Indian as a martial race, with special propensities and desire for warfare, was firmly and pervasively entrenched in the American mind.
From the American Indian perspective, war is viewed as a major disruption of the natural order of life and of the universe. Native American peoples conceptualize no separation between mind, body, spirit, and "religion," while the western society world-view (that of the U.S. majority) embraces a reductionistic/separatist conceptualization of a mind, body, and spirit. Thus, a more holistic paradigm of self, spirit, and nature is embraced by American Indian and Alaska Native peoples. Warriors are viewed as people who are placed not only in physical danger, but also in spiritual danger by their participation in war. All tribes see the warrior as sacrificing self (purposefully exposing oneself to trauma or even death) on behalf of the people; it is a role and an undertaking worthy of the highest respect. Thus, only the most serious reasons legitimize war.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
The risk of exposure to trauma (e.g., combat or rape) is a risk of the human condition. A possible consequence of trauma is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Historical accounts and world literature provide us with many illustrations of trauma and its sequelae. One example is Homer's ancient story of the battle between the Greeks and the Trojans. In a more modern-day work, Shakespeare's Henry IV appears to have met many, if not all, of the diagnostic criteria for PTSD. Yet, as familiar as clinicians and the general public have become with PTSD in general, knowledge about its prevalence, incidence, comorbidities, treatments, and cultural aspects specific to American Indian and Alaska Native peoples remains relatively underinvestigated and undisseminated.
This section contains information about PTSD and various topics:
What Causes PTSD
Making the Diagnosis
Is PTSD Different for Native Veterans?
Social Readjustment
Quality of Life
Mental Health
PTSD, Alcohol Problems and Drug Abuse
PTSD and Physical Illness

Native American Healing
Native American healing encompasses a very broad spectrum of practices and beliefs. These practices and beliefs vary throughout the different tribes of Native American, yet they all are generally based on spirituality, herbs, religion or a combination of all three. Native American healing practices and rituals were used to treat not only medical conditions but emotional and spiritual conditions, too.
There are many different Native American tribes. It would be impossible to list all of them in this article. It should be noted that some Native American healing practices are not even known by the general public. Many healing practices and rituals are kept as closely guarded secret among the tribes. They are only passed down from healers to the next generation of healers. What is known about Native American healing and rituals is very general and remains part of the mystery which continues to surround Native Americans.
The concept behind Native American healing is much different than Western medicine. Native Americans looked at the person as a whole and treated the individual’s entire person, instead of focusing on just the illness or ailment. As many of you know, Native Americans believe that everything is interconnected – nature, plants, animals, the Earth, sky and so on. Many Native Americans believe that everything has a spirit. If a person had an illness it was thought to be due in part to a spiritual problem.
An important part of Native American healing involved cleansing and purifying the body. Sweat lodges, special drinks and herbs were often used by tribes for the purpose of cleansing the body. Another ritual was called smudging. This is when they would “smoke” a person or a place with the smoke from a sacred herb or plant. Sometimes the entire tribe was involved in ceremonies that were supposed to promote healing for an individual or the tribe as a whole. These ceremonies sometimes included painting their bodies, singing, praying, dancing, chanting, or taking substances that were reported to alter the mind.
Native American healing is very old. It is said to have roots in ancient East Indian and Chinese traditions. When the United States was settled many of the ancient healing practices became lost or were hidden from the whites. It was until the United States passed the American Indian Religious Freedom Act in 1978 did many of these rituals and practices become “legal.”
To put it plainly, because many of the Native American healing practices are shrouded in mystery and spirituality there are few scientific studies to prove whether it is a valid form of medicine that actually heals the body. However, many people swear by Native American healing. They say it not only heals, but it calms and relieves stress. Many people who have disease or illness will incorporate it in with their Western medicine plans.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Pow wow honors Native American veterans

Pow wow honors Native American veterans
by Sarah McCann
Beckie Supiano Nov 14, 2007

WASHINGTON-- Native American veterans are traditonally honored at pow wows, and the Rockville, Md. pow wow during Veterans Day weekend was a good example of such a event. After participating in a flag ceremony and honorary dance, Native American veterans from northern Virginia and the Washington metro area explained how their community welcomes troops home with spiritual cleansing ceremonies.

Cleansing the soul after war has been documented going back to the time of Judges in the Bible. If you think this is "hogwash" then you haven't been reading very much. The American Indians did not arrive on this continent in the 1400's but arrived hundreds of thousands of years ago. They did not just participate in war when they were trying to retain their lands and way of life from the early Americans, but have been warriors since their beginning. We can learn a lot from the Native Americans if we listen to them. The problem is most of us would rather watch TV than listen to wisdom.