“You’re probably not aware, but about 1 percent of veterans are of American Indian or Native Alaskan descent. While this group is just a tiny percentage of our Armed Forces, Native American veterans are two to three times as likely to experience PTSD as white veterans, says Dr. Spero Manson, Ph.D., who leads the Centers for American Indian and Native Alaskan Health at the University of Colorado’s School of Public Health.” NewSwell
Excerpt: Native American Ceremonies Help Soldiers Overcome PTSD by Jenny Shank, NationSwell
“Why does this group suffer mental anguish more than others? Manson, who is a member of the Pembina-Chippewa tribe, thinks it’s because Native Americans are more likely to spend more time in combat than soldiers of other ethnicities.
Although the issues faced by veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan are unique, Manson believes this problem isn’t new, extending back for as long as there have been warriors. The returning warriors of that time came back to their local villages and communities exhibiting many of the same symptoms that veterans today, who have seen combat, do, he says. They’re irritable, quick to fight, they distance themselves from others. They’re very difficult to reintegrate into their communities.
Manson believes the ancient ceremonies tribes developed to address these problems can be helpful to today’s soldiers. He cites the Lakota Wiping of Tears, “where tears are symbolically brushed from the cheeks,” as being helpful. Manson’s own son returned troubled after serving in the Marine Corps and finally got back on his feet through a mixture of tribal and traditional medical interventions.”
“Ceremonies conducted before combat, can help lower the likelihood of PTSD. Ceremonies that take place after combat can reduce the duration and severity of PTSD for native troops returning home. Many people are finding healing” Dr. Spero Manson-Pembina-Chippewa tribe.
- In what state does Dr. Manson work?
- Of what tribe is Dr. Manson a member?
- What does PTSD stand for?
- What are some of the symptoms of PTSD?
- What percentage of veterans are of American Indian or Native Alaska descent?