Physical Activity and Healing through the Medicine Wheel



An Excerpt



According to Wesley-Esquimaux and Smolewski (2004), Indigenous people have experienced unremitting trauma as a result of colonization. The unremitting trauma of colonization included physical disconnection with children being removed from families and communities; mental disconnection with forced assimilation, forbidding the use of Aboriginal languages; changes in political and social structures; emotional disconnection by enforcement of the stereotypical view of “savage Indians” needing assimilation; and spiritual disconnection by banning of Indigenous cultural ceremonies (Chansonneuve, 2005). Unremitting trauma has produced intergenerational “post-traumatic effects” demonstrated today in many Indigenous communities (Wesley- Esquimaux and Smolewski, 2004). Evidence of post-traumatic effects manifests among Indigenous communities throughout the world. For example, globally, Indigenous people experience higher rates of illness and death compared with non-Indigenous people (World Health Organization, 2001). The generational impact of colonial trauma and forced assimilation has been termed historic trauma transmission (HTT) (Wesley-Esquimaux and Smolewski, 2004).

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