Generational Trauma: How it Affects Native Americans and Their Communities

  • Austin Thoreson (Iowa State University)
  • Tiffany Contreras (Iowa State University)
  • Natalie Figueroa-Félix (Iowa State University)
  • Rene Chavez (Iowa State University)
  • Nadine Veasley (Iowa State University)


“Guns, germs, and steel,” for many, this phrase is used to describe the severe ways in which America was stolen and colonized by European intruders. Colonization, modernization, genocide, and theft has led to many cycles of generational trauma that are still relevant in today’s generations of Native Americans. Generational trauma is a new theory in the field of psychology that explains how trauma can be transferred from one generation to the next. The purpose of this session is to inform and bring awareness to the concepts of generational trauma, how it occurs, and its effects in Native American communities, including Native students on our college campus. Join us as we discuss cycles of events, generational trauma, and the very real effects that are present and manifest through depression, anxiety, violence and substance abuse in Native communities.

How to Cite:

Thoreson, A. & Contreras, T. & Figueroa-Félix, N. & Chavez, R. & Veasley, N., (2020) “Generational Trauma: How it Affects Native Americans and Their Communities”, Iowa State Conference on Race and Ethnicity 21(1).



Published on
05 Mar 2020
Peer Reviewed