Impact of Historical Events on American Indian Older Adults

Impact of Historical Events on American Indian Older Adults

It has been said that one cannot understand the American Indian without developing an appreciation of the unique relationship between the Indian and the federal government. Historical events, such as attendance in Indian boarding schools experienced by a high percentage of the current cohort of older American Indians, play a very important role in their daily lives.

As a colonized people, these events have become a way of defining who one is in place and time, as well as those who went before. Intergenerational grief and anger may be based on these events, as well as intergenerational acceptance and survival. The health care practitioner working with elderly American Indian should have this information, but also not assume cultural knowledge or practice by the older American Indian.