• Explorations of intergenerational healing, resilience, and post-traumatic growth by helpers and healers on the Blackfeet Nation

      Hoyt, Tyler J.; Gifford, Valerie M.; Whipple, Jason; Topkok, Sean; David, Eric John (2019-12)
      This project explored intergenerational healing, resilience, and post-traumatic growth within the context of the Blackfeet Nation in Montana, the roles of helpers and healers in this setting, and community experiences of familial trauma and the idiosyncratic healing and resilience processes according to their worldview. The central goal of this study was to provide a contemporary public narrative surrounding healing and resilience as these topics related to historical and intergenerational trauma in this specific community. This exploratory study was composed of the narratives of 14 co-participants working as helpers and healers on the Blackfeet Nation. Indigenous narrative and a cosmic relationality were honored and a phenomenological method of Gadamerian hermeneutics was utilized. Seven central themes arose in the process of data analysis including Spirituality, Trauma, Healing, Resilience, Helping Role, Community, and Blackfeet Worldview. Co-participants explored contemporary experiences of collective intergenerational trauma of those they served as well as personal and familial processes of healing and resilience. The centrality of spirituality, cultural immersion and personal cultural identity were discussed as aspects of intergenerational healing and resilience. A holistic and culturally idiosyncratic understanding of personal and intergenerational healing was emphasized including spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical modes of healing. Patterns of healing experienced collectively and synergistically within family systems and between community members were also identified.