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Trauma and Resilience in American Indian and African American Southern History

Anthony S. Parent and Ulrike Wiethaus

Trauma and Resilience in American Indian and African American Southern History explores the dual process of a refusal to remember, that is, the force of active forgetting, and the multiple ways in which Native Americans and African Americans have kept alive memories of conquest and enslavement. Complex narratives of loss endured during the antebellum period still resonate in the current debate over sovereignty and reparations.
Remembrances of events tinged with historical trauma are critical not only to the collective memories of American Indian and African American communities but, as public health research forcefully demonstrates, to their health and well-being on every level. Interdisciplinary dialogue and inquiry are essential to fully articulate how historical and contemporary circumstances have affected the collective memories of groups. Until recently, Southern whites have (nostalgically or dismissively) remembered American Indian and African American historical presence in the region. Their recollections silence the outrages committed and thus prevent the healing of inflicted trauma. Efforts of remembrance are at odds with intergenerational gaps of knowledge about family history and harmful stereotyping.

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