Colonial Trauma: Complex, continuous, collective, cumulative and compounding effects on the health of Indigenous peoples in Canada and beyond


Author Provided Abstract, Page 75:

"Indigenous peoples across the globe suffer a disproportionate burden of both mental and physical illness relative to Settler populations. A substantial body of research indicates that colonialism and its associated processes are important determinants of Indigenous peoples' health. In Canada, despite an abundance of health research documenting inequalities in morbidity and mortality rates for Indigenous peoples, relatively little research has focused on the political, historical, cultural basis of health disparities. This paper advances a theory of colonial trauma as a conceptual framework with which to understand Indigenous health and mental health disparities. Colonial Trauma is described as a complex, continuous, collective, cumulative and compounding interaction of impacts related to the imposition of colonial policies and practices which continue to separate Indigenous Peoples from their land, languages, cultural practices, and one another. The theory of colonial trauma is presented as useful a framework for understanding the links betweenpersistent health disparities, the traumagenic nature of colonialism and the right of self-determination." (p. 75)

Keywords: Canada; Colonialism; Indigenous peoples; Trauma; Colonial Trauma; Health disparities; Determinants of health


Publication Information

Mitchell, Terry, Courtney Arseneau, and Darren Lecturer. "Colonial Trauma: Complex, Continuous, Collective, Cumulative and Compounding Effects on the Health of Indigenous Peoples in Canada and beyond." International Journal of Indigenous Health 14, no. 2 (2019): 74-94. DOI 10.32799/ijih.v14i2.32251


Mitchell, Terry
Arseneau, Courtney
Thomas, Darren
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