Historical Trauma

"Knowledge and resources about the impact of trauma on the individual, organization, and community levels are powerful tools for those searching for the words and pathways to healing."
- Monika Johnson Hostler, Executive Director, North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Anti-Racism Resource List

If you haven’t engaged in anti-racism work in the past, it is never too late to start now!

Please visit this anti-racism resource list.

Included are resources primarily written/endorsed by black individuals, in order to strengthen and support that specific narrative over others. This is in no way an exhaustive list of resources, and we encourage you to use this as a starting point in contributing to the fight for racial equity. We encourage you to circulate this document on social media and with your friends, family, and colleagues.


Why is healing from collective trauma critical for our social justice efforts?
VAWnet: Online resource library on gender-based violence
Authored by Patty Branco, Senior Technical Assistance & Resource Specialist for the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, this article discusses collective and historical trauma, covering both background information and specifics of groups that experience historical trauma. The article is presented through a social justice lens, with an emphasis on resiliency to strengthen community healing. It includes an excerpt from a video by Dr. Joy De Gruy defining Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome.


We acknowledge that materials on this page do not do justice to the vast and diverse experience of historical trauma, across and including all communities who have experienced oppression. We have included resources that address historical trauma generally and some identities specifically. After an extensive search, it is clear that more research and resources that bring a culturally specific lens and perspective to trauma are needed. As with the entire site, JDI will update this content as additional resources are identified, and we welcome your feedback and suggestions.

Addressing Mental Health Risk Factors, Advancing Excellence in Transgender Health
National LGBT Health Education Center, A Fenway Institute Program
This PowerPoint presentation identifies the risks and trauma facing Transgender people, and explores strategies for increasing access to trauma-informed supports and treatment options.

Allies in the Struggle: Intersectional Work as Trauma-Informed Response and Prevention
The Virginia Sexual & Domestic Violence Action Alliance
This presentation describes systemic and institutional racism in America and its impact on people of color experiencing sexual and intimate partner violence. Integrating a racial justice lens in advocacy work is critical to becoming allies with survivors of color who live at the intersections of racism, sexism, and other oppressions.

Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence, and America’s Prison Nation
By Beth E. Richie
This book outlines how Black women face particular threat and violence. Race and culture have not been adequately considered in the analysis of gender-based violence. Richie outlines policy implications and a call to action for change.

The Unequal Toll of Toxic Stress: How the Mental Burdens of Bias, Trauma, and Family Hardship Impact Girls and Women
Center for American Progress 
Written by Janet Warner, this report cites the ways in which women and girls of color are disadvantaged through racial inequities in education, communities and workplaces. Links to primary source research are included.

Healing Collective Trauma Project Website
Healing Collective Trauma
A website dedicated to healing historical trauma from a cross-cultural perspective. There are interviews, articles and videos as well as additional resources provided by other professionals in the field of trauma care.

Discovering Our Story
Wisdom of Our Elders 
The first lesson of five on historical trauma and the experience of Indigenous peoples. This page offers a basic understanding of historical trauma as well as ways for Indigenous peoples to cope with trauma.

Historical Trauma and Geriatrics
Stanford School of Medicine
Stanford’s page on Historical Trauma details different occurrences of historical trauma among Alaska Natives. It explores the different eras of Alaskan colonization and disasters that resulted in a shared trauma for the population, such as the Exxon-Valdez oil spill.

Historical Trauma and Micro-Aggressions
ACES Connection – A Community of Practice Social Network
ACEs Connection (Adverse Childhood Experiences) is a social network that accelerates the global movement toward recognizing the impact of adverse childhood experiences in shaping adult behavior and health, and reforming all communities and institutions — from schools to prisons to hospitals and churches — to help heal and develop resilience rather than to continue to traumatize already traumatized people. This link on their website offers a catalog of links to articles on the subject of historical trauma and micro-aggressions.

Historical Trauma as a Public Narrative: A Conceptual Review of How History Impacts Present-Day Health
The National Center for Biotechnology Information
Abstract of an article that is a critical review that integrates the literature on historical trauma in order to specify theoretical mechanisms that explain how historical trauma influences the health of individuals and communities.

How to Heal African-Americans’ Traumatic History
The Conversation
This article offers a perspective on how the current oppression of African-Americans is connected to past trauma of slavery and lynching, and the potential for healing by learning about history.

Impact of Historical Trauma on African Americans and its Effects on Help Seeking Behaviors
The University of Missouri – St. Louis
This resource provides background on historical trauma, who is affected by it and how it can manifest. There is also information about why people who have experienced collective trauma might not seek help or be wary of those offering services.

Impact of Violence at the Intersections of the Margins
Sponsored by The National Latino Network, Presented by Olga Trujillo, JD.
This webinar tells a personal story to explore how poverty, language, culture, religious beliefs, and immigration combined create trauma and opportunities for trauma-informed responses.

Historical Trauma Among Native American Populations: What Providers Need to Know
Indian Country Child Trauma Center
This resource outlines the various dynamics service providers might encounter while working with Indigenous peoples. It was created to inform providers on how to improve the quality of care, treatment and services for Indigenous youth who have experienced trauma.

Dangerous Intersections
Incite! is a network of radical feminists of color organizing to end state violence and violence in homes and communities. This subpage provides an overview and analysis about how gender-based violence serves as a tool of racism and colonialism.

Conversations About Historical Trauma: Parts One, Two, and Three
National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN)
This downloadable PDF describes how historical trauma has impacted American Indian children and families and how services for these children and families should take into account not only their present circumstances, personal trauma histories, but also historical trauma. The article describes how trauma and grief are interwoven for Native American peoples and how to tap into the community resilience that is a core tenet of many tribal communities.

Transforming Historical Harms
Coming to the Table, Program of CJP at EMU
This PDF manual aims to provide
 value to those trying to address the personal, familial, communal and/or societal remnants of traumagenic historical experiences that continue to hurt or limit the lives of individuals, groups, societies and nations. The manual explains how historical harms, current challenges in our lives and communities are rooted in large-scale historical traumas, how historical harms are transmitted intergenerationally, and how to apply the “transforming historical harms” approach to heal some of the wounds of historical trauma.


Intergenerational Trauma
Social Work Today
Trauma and its effects can be passed down from generation to generation within families and in one’s broader community or group. This article from Social Work Today describes the need for social workers to be aware of the many manifestations of trauma in family, community, and individual contexts.

Reclaiming What is Sacred: Addressing Harm to Indigenous Elders and Developing a Tribal Response to Abuse in Later Life
Safe Housing Partnerships
This report examines the intersections of aging and abuse in tribal communities. The authors, Lauren J. Litton, I.S.P. Consulting and Victoria Ybanez, Red Wind Consulting, Inc. describe historical trauma impacts on elders, and actions to address the needs of indigenous elders and their communities.

Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror
The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, Equal Justice Initiative 
Part of the Equal Justice Initiative, the National Memorial for Peace and Justice is dedicated to “the legacy of enslaved black people, people terrorized by lynching, African Americans humiliated by racial segregation and Jim Crow, and people of color burdened with contemporary presumptions of guilt and police violence.”

The Native Wellness Institute Resources
The Native Wellness Institute 
The Institute is dedicated to promoting well-being for Native people through programs and trainings that focus on and use the teachings and tradition of their ancestors. The website lists the services, trainings and programs provided by this organization. Check out two helpful reports: “Historical Trauma Resiliency” (downloadable PowerPoint Presentation) and “Being Trauma and Healing-Informed.”

Our Pulse: On Residual Trauma Facing LGBTQ Latinx Communities
This article identifies the Pulse shooting in Orlando as an act of hate violence targeting Latinx people, a gender-inclusive term to acknowledge people of Latin American heritage or descent. LGBTQ Latinx-identified community organizers, advocates, and nightlife promoters discuss the anticipated, residual trauma that will face Latinx communities. Also translated into Spanish.

Racial Equity & Liberation Virtual Learning Series
Move to End Violence
A 6-week online learning community to explore racial liberation

Racial Injustice and Trauma: African Americans in the US
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) was launched by the U.S. Congress in response to increasing recognition of the widespread and long-term impact of exposure to violence and traumatic events in childhood. The NCTSN mission is broad, encompassing all ages, service systems, and trauma types. The mission of the NCTSN is framed primarily around the needs of individual children and families and the providers who serve them. This article underscores the importance of addressing the impacts of historical traumas such as slavery in the lives of African Americans in the U.S. Racial injustice in law enforcement, prisons, and other institutions today bear the legacy of historical oppressions and have significant effects on the trauma experience, treatment, and recovery of African Americans.

The Return to the Sacred Path: Reflections on the Development of Historical Trauma Healing
Maria Yellow Horse Brave Heart, PhD Associate Professor of Psychiatry/Director, Native American & Disparities Research Center for Rural & Community Behavioral Health President, The Takini Institute
This slideshow by Dr. Maria Yellow Horse Brave Heart describes historical trauma, historical trauma theory and unresolved grief intervention. The slideshow offers examples of community healing, relevant video segments, and the formation of the Takini Institute, which focuses on reducing the suffering of Indigenous Peoples experiencing historical trauma.

Trauma May Be Woven into Native Americans
Indian Country Today 
This article explains the concept of epigenetics, which proposes that genes passed through generations can carry memories of trauma experienced by ancestors and influence how the following generations react to trauma. Epigenetics literally translates to “above the gene,” and the Academy of Pediatrics has reported that the way genes work determines neuroendocrine structure and is strongly influenced by experience.

Trauma and Post Traumatic Stress Disorders in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Individuals
By Amy E. Ellis Ph.D

Trauma-Informed Approaches for LGBTQ Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence
National Center on Domestic Violence, Mental Health, and Trauma
Authors: Erin C. Miller, M.P.S., M.D.V., Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault; Newton-Wellesley Hospital, Lisa A. Goodman, Ph.D. Boston College, Kristie A.Thomas, Ph.D, Simmons College, Alex Peterson, University of British Columbia, Jillian R Scheer, M.A. Boston College, Jule. M. Woulfe, M.A. Boston College, Caroel Warshaw, M.D. National Center on Domestic Violence, Mental Health, and Trauma, Principal investigator: Curt Rogers, M.P.A GLBTQ Domestic Violence Project.
The literature review helps set the context for thinking about trauma-informed practice for LGBQT communities, including focuses on trauma, mental health, and resilience, systemic, institutional, and individual-level barriers that thwart LGBQT* peoples’ access to informal and formal support services.

White Supremacy and Gender-Based Violence: How They Feed Each Other and What We Can Do About It
Alliance in Action: A Blog by Virginia Sexual & Domestic Violence Action Alliance
This blog post by Kate McCord, director of the Virginia Sexual & Domestic Violence Action Alliance, outlines the intersections between white supremacy and gender-based violence, and how SDV organizations can actively engage in racial justice work.


Absorbing Trauma by Osmosis: Holocaust Memory Across Generations

Absorbing Trauma by Osmosis: Holocaust Memory Across Generations
In this 5 minute talk from the Yiddish Book Center’s Wexler Oral History Project, Leela Corman, graphic artist, describes her experiences as the granddaughter of Shoah survivors and talks about the different ways in which each of her grandparents reflected upon and transmitted their stories.

How Do People Experience Historical Trauma

How Do People Experience Historical Trauma
Created by the University of Minnesota, this 6-minute video discusses how people experience historical trauma and the lasting effects on individuals as well as communities.

Healing from Trauma and Abuse in the Native American Community (Recorded workshop presentation)

In this 2 hour presentation by the Native American Health Center, Dr. Art Martinez (Chumash), Clinical Psychologist outlines strategies to heal from trauma and abuse.

Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome

Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome
Dr. Joy De Gruy, author of Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome
In this 90-minute lecture, Dr Joy De Gruy presents researched-based connection between slavery and trauma in video. Published in September 2016.

The Urgency of Intersectionality

The Urgency of Intersectionality
In this 2016 TedTalk, Kimberle Crenshaw reviews the term “intersectionality” that she coined to describe how our overlapping identities relate to experiences of structural racism and oppression, and expresses its urgent relevance today given state violence toward people of color.

What Is Historical Trauma

What is Historical Trauma
This 5-minute talk describes historical trauma as a collective, cumulative emotional wounding across generations resulting from cataclysmic events such as slavery, colonization, or the holocaust.