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While many in such a group will experience no effects of the historical trauma, others may experience poor overall physical and behavioral health, including low self-esteem, depression, self-destructive behavior, marked propensity for violent or aggressive behavior, substance misuse and addiction, and high rates of suicide and cardiovascular disease.

Acute problems of domestic violence or alcohol misuse that are not directly linked to historical trauma may be exacerbated by living in a community with unaddressed grief and behavioral health needs. Compounding this familial or intergenerational trauma, historical trauma often involves the additional challenge of a damaged cultural identity Sotero, Clinical social workers first described historical trauma among descendants of the Holocaust and the children of Japanese Americans interned during World War II Barocas and Barocas, , Nagata et al The children and grandchildren of survivors commonly experience attachment issues and isolation by their parents Danieli, Considerable work has also been done with communities of Native Americans, who experienced repeated massacres and the forced removal of children to federal and mission boarding and day schools Brave Heart, For members of any of these communities, daily reminders of racial discrimination can exacerbate individual responses to trauma.

An understudied group who has experienced historical trauma is the disability community. In the recent past, people with disabilities have been subjected to biases and misrepresentations about their capabilities and lived experiences Miller and Levine, Attempts to eradicate people with disabilities have included eugenics campaigns, compulsory sterilization, forced psychiatric treatment, and the institutionalization of people with intellectual disabilities. Human services programs are provided to a wide range of individuals including members of groups who may experience historical trauma.

By being mindful of unresolved grief and distrust of majority groups or government programs, human service providers can more readily deliver programs to reduce family stress, child abuse and neglect, substance misuse, mental health challenges, and domestic violence. Human services providers and staff can better understand present day reactions to events in the context of individual trauma narratives.

Because trauma-related events have occurred in the context of service provision, it is also important to be mindful of a potential lack of trust in government-funded services, in research, and in health and mental health care. To build trust, providers can be respectful, cognizant of different reactions to traumatic events within communities, and focus on community strengths and resilience.

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With the understanding that all communities are unique with distinct cultural norms and belief systems, human services personnel are in a good position to support to members of the community with whom they are working. Research is still emerging on the effectiveness of treatment methods for individuals experiencing historical trauma. Treatment approaches are grounded in traditional healing methods and ceremonial practices of communities. For example, Dr. Brave Heart has developed psychoeducational group interventions delivered at geographic locations that are sacred to members of tribal communities that involve ceremonies reinforcing cultural identity.

Although even top researchers in this field acknowledge the literature about historical trauma is controversial, there is an important emphasis on the healing process, and overcoming the barriers to resolving grief.

Skip to main content. Social sharing. Administration for Children and Families. Search form Search. Trauma What is Historical Trauma?

Why the Concept of Historical Trauma is Important for Human Services Agencies Human services programs are provided to a wide range of individuals including members of groups who may experience historical trauma. Relevant Interventions and Approaches Research is still emerging on the effectiveness of treatment methods for individuals experiencing historical trauma.

Key Concepts Historical trauma is intergenerational trauma experienced by a specific cultural group that has a history of being systematically oppressed. Current lifespan trauma, superimposed upon a traumatic ancestral past creates additional adversity. Historical trauma can have an impact on psychological and physical health. Historical trauma is cumulative and reverberates across generations. Descendants who have not directly experienced a traumatic event can exhibit the signs and symptoms of trauma, such as depression, fixation on trauma, low self-esteem, anger, and self-destructive behavior.

People coming into systems of services and support from communities who have been subjected to historical trauma may believe the systems do not support them. They may experience triggers that are re-traumatizing. Providers can also seek and build alliances with local, respected individuals such as pastors and community leaders. Providers should recognize that cultural, racial, and ethnic groups are heterogeneous, and not every member of a group has the same response to a current or past traumatic event. When the original dynasty of counts died out in , control of the Tyrol was taken over by the royal Habsburgs.

First printed in , this version is dated in the lower right-hand corner. Frankly, if I try to figure it all out, it just makes my head spin. But while official boundaries of any administrative entity come and go like tides, the cultural identity of the people from these entities are far more resistant to change. Most descendants of Trentino ancestors know that their ancestral homeland was once under Austrian rule and was incorporated into Italy after World War 1. When they migrated to their new, adopted homelands, the culture — and cultural identity — they brought with them was from THAT era.

We, their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, inherited all those things. When cultures become displaced, the old traditions and ways of thinking do not evolve the same way they would have if they had stayed in their native homeland. I believe this happens because people who live in places far removed from their ancestral homelands desperately need to feel a connection to their past. Moreover, to relinquish that label or change the way of thinking brought across the sea by their emigrant ancestors is seen as a kind of disloyalty — or even betrayal.

Of course not. It stands on its own as what it is. I prefer this term because I have lived in Europe for 20 years, and I go to Trentino frequently.

Amanda Kearney

So, that designation makes more sense in my situation. But for me, it also carries great meaning. To me, the word represents the thing that makes me feel most connected to my ancestors — the land itself. Through that word, I feel connected to every ancestor and blood relation whose very existence was owed to that majestic land. But that is simply MY cultural label. It has meaning for me, but perhaps not for you. Never EVER in my life would I ever suggest that someone should reject or change the word they use to identify themselves if that word fills them with joy and makes them feel alive.

One such argument within my own family sticks clearly in my mind even after nearly half a century. I have an Italian name. At this point, my aunt entirely lost it. She flew into a rage and shoved our cousin against the wall. I bring this up not to criticise my late aunt I actually adored her , but to underscore how cultural identity has nothing whatsoever to do with cultural awareness. It lives and breathes in complete independence from historical or geographical accuracy. Lest you think these schisms were limited to first-generation Americans, this ideological divide is still very much alive amongst Trentini descendants today.


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For example, I recently received this message from a prospective member of my Trentino Genealogy Facebook group:. I am interested in tracing our roots back to the days before the Fascist Italianization of our land when it was Austria-Hungary, of which my grandparents were citizens. While Austria-Hungary died years ago, and Mussolini died over 60 years ago, the passion contained within these words is still palpable. To expect or force him to do so would not only be highly insensitive, but utterly futile.

Many of them come to me with a feeling of longing or even emptiness. They are searching for a missing piece of themselves and are often quite understandably confused about where their ancestors came from. You cannot just call people something and expect them to embrace it or even accept it. This is something I believe the big companies who handle DNA tests have yet to understand. Knowing how delicate and emotionally charged cultural identities can be, companies who provide DNA ethnicity reports have a HUGE moral responsibility.

I will be returning to this point in the final article in this series, but for now I want to suggest three crucial shifts that need to occur if we are to increase the value — an minimise the damage — of ethnicity reports offered by DNA testing companies:. Do the DNA tests currently on the market support what northern and southern Italians believe about themselves? Moreover, are their findings consistent from company to company? Just who were the people who populated Trentino and other parts of northern Italy over the centuries?

Below is a short, whistle-stop tour through the millennia. About 2, years ago, and through the first centuries of the Common Era A. The precise origin of the Celts is much less clear to historians, and many preconceptions about who they were and where they came from are being challenged although they are most widely believed to have from somewhere in central Europe. Between around B. Thus, some historians believe the Romans may not have played a huge part on changing the ethnicity of the area, although others dispute this theory.

What is indisputable, however, is that they brought the Latin language, permanently changing the linguistic landscape of northern Italy. The majority of Trentini speak dialects and have names based on Latin roots. After the fall of Roman ca. Today, most scholars believe they originated from somewhere in Scandinavia. Although defeated as a political force by Charlemagne around A. A formidable political force, they also influenced many other Germanic tribes — including the Saxons — to settle in Italian lands during their reign.

During the middle ages 1,, A. One Veronesi historian I know says he believes this is because Cimbro is related to Old English as spoken by the Saxons. Linguistic connections do not always indicate a genetic connection, but sometimes they might. I suppose this is evidence of how long they had lived in that valley, and how thoroughly they had become assimilated into the local culture over the centuries, but again this is pure speculation.

Much later, when under Austrian rule in the ss, you will see other scattered Germanic surnames appearing in the church records of the northern provinces, but in a more organic and less invasive fashion. So, based on what we know about the history of northern Italy, what conclusions can we draw about northern Italian ethnicity? The Longobards were known to have adopted Roman customs and dress and, although they were always at loggerheads with the Pope, the did actually convert to Christianity. Given that the Longobards had assimilated, at least in part, to local culture, it seems implausible to me that there was NO inter-breeding between cultures over all that time.

I have seen dozens of Longobard artefacts in many churches and museums in in Trentino. Even after a political coup , if people have lived in an area for a long time, they tend to stay put, unless they are forced to leave by economic, environmental or political circumstances. And while Charlemagne ousted the Longobard leaders, I have read nothing about any kind of wholesale exodus of the Longobard people from Italy.

Will our that DNA profile look different from those of other Italians? In that article, we will finally look in depth at ethnicity reports — how they come up with their data, what the data means, and how we genealogists — from ALL ethnic backgrounds — can help improve the future of DNA research. I will also share examples from my own reports, so you can see how data can be interpreted and misinterpreted in context.

I invite you to subscribe to the Trentino Genealogy blog, to make sure you receive all the articles in the special series on DNA testing, as well as all our future articles. After the series is complete, I will also be compiling all these articles into a FREE downloadable PDF available for a limited time to all subscribers. If you are viewing online, you will find the subscription form on the right side at the top of your screen.

Kearney, Amanda

If you are viewing on a mobile device and cannot see the form, you can subscribe by sending a blank email to trentinogenealogy getresponse. I look forward to your comments. Please feel free to share your own research discoveries in the comments box below.

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Then, can set up a free minute chat to discuss your project. Subscribe to receive all upcoming articles from Trentino Genealogy! Desktop viewers can subscribe using the form at the right side at the top of your screen. You'll only hear from us when we have a new, informative genealogy article for you to read. We are dedicated to a spam-free world. Lynn, great article which explains a good deal of what I had heard from my grandfather, John Franceski Giovanni Franceschi in the original , who emigrated, on an Austro-Hungarian passport, from Vergonzo in Bleggio Inferiore to Forest City, Pa.

They are my 5th cousins, so I assumed I am related to you as well. If so, then Marion was also one of your cousins. Benasutti was her married name. She was born Gosetti, and her mother was a Serafini. Great article Lynn.

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You have given us so much knowledge and understanding of our heritage We were raised to believe we were Austrian. My Aunts were very insistent we were not Italian. This has been passed on through the generations,at our family reunions everyone still says Austrian or Tyrolean. After visiting there and meeting my family I will remain a Tyrolean.

Thanks for reading and living a comment, Mary Kay. It sounds like you and I had very similar childhood experiences in that regard. I am finding the varied responses to this issue to be positively fascinating. Identity really is SUCH a personal and important thing. What a thoughtful article, Lynn!! You have taken a lot of very complex information and synthesized it beautifully and clearly. I especially appreciate the link to the geographic history of Tyrol. The cousins who still live there in present day Trentino are proud to be Italian, but they consider northern Italy to be a bit separate from the rest of Italy—more special and autonomous, and perhaps more prosperous.

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Indeed, Michelle! It is one of the great ironies that the same place that was so impoverished that so many of our ancestors chose to emigrate is now one of the most prosperous provinces in all of Italy. Certainly their autonomy has a great deal to do with that. I was there during the floods last autumn, and I was amazed at how quickly they responded to the affected areas.