Dina Gilio-Whitaker: There's more than one path to reconciliation

Dina Gilio-Whitaker. Photo from about.me

Why are indigenous people always being asked to forgive? What about the abusers that are still in power? Dina Gilio-Whitaker, a member of the Colville Tribes, looks at some of the issues surrounding historical trauma:
Healing from trauma is not only about liberation from the circumstances of mistreatment, but also from a mental state of victimization, to not be stuck in a state of trauma. The ultimate objective in order to achieve peace of mind is acceptance. Forgiveness might be one path to acceptance, experts tell us, but it isn’t the only one.

Things become far more complex at the group level. Communities or nations who are surviving wars or other conflicts face the extremely challenging prospects of having to rebuild their communities, as well as heal from the psychological trauma inflicted by violence in its many forms. Even more complicated is when peoples who engaged in violent conflict must continue to coexist with each other after the cessation of violence.

Some conflicts are so deep, pervasive, or old that they are said to be intractable, or endless. And that the psychological damage caused by extreme violence may never be overcome in many individuals. Yet intractability does not imply hopelessness. Innovative approaches toward resolving conflict continue to evolve. In recent years, for example, we have seen the trend toward truth and reconciliation commissions (TRC’s).

Read More:
Dina Gilio-Whitaker: Is Forgiveness the Only Option to Heal From Historical Trauma? (Indian Country Today 8/25)

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