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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The indigenous soul wound: Exploring culture, memetics, complexity and emergence
by Peters, Wendy M. K., Ph.D., Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, 2011, 237; 3474460
Abstract (Summary)

The impoverished conditions that exist within the enclaves that are the communities of assimilated indigenous and colonized First Nations Peoples are widely known. In Canada, New Zealand, and the United States, numerous studies have attested to large differences between those countries’ indigenous and nonindigenous peoples in terms of health, well-being, education, and income levels. Currently, it is difficult to assess whether the gaps are growing or shrinking. Nevertheless, it is clear that substance abuse, suicide, infant mortality, incarceration, school drop-outs, low median family incomes, and other issues have become endemic among First Peoples.

Together, these issues present an interrelated complex of conditions, experienced by First Peoples, and long recognized by indigenous elders as a soul wound. The term soul wound aptly captures the essence of an issue so pervasive that it has impacted entire societies and has been passed on through generations. Current research has implicated certain types of historic traumatic events, such as genocide and ethnocide, as precipitating the circumstances that gave rise to soul wounding. Many studies have also explicated the current conditions of health, well-being, economic, and political inequities that prevail among First Peoples and their communities. However, given that many cultures and societies throughout history have undergone similar transitions that have resulted in very different outcomes, current literature does not seem to sufficiently explain how 3 great societies—the Hawaiians, Native Americans, and Maori peoples—each at the heights of complexity and sophistication at the time of initial Western contact, still struggle in their efforts to emerge from conditions that exemplify norms of poverty and disempowerment.

This study, through blended methods of qualitative inquiry, offers to increase our understanding of the essence and meaning of the indigenous soul wound, thereby contributing to the amplification of current research on this topic. These new insights can deepen our understanding of the indigenous soul wound such that the systemic issues that pervade indigenous societies might be addressed in ways that are more relevant and meaningful to indigenous peoples.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Rominger, Ryan
Commitee: McCaslin, Mark, Stewart-Harawira, Makere
School: Institute of Transpersonal Psychology
Department: Global Psychology with a concentration in Transpersonal Psychology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 73/01, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Social psychology, Native American studies
Keywords: Historical trauma, Indigenous, Integral theory, Intergenerational trauma, Soul wounding, Spiral dynamics
Publication Number: 3474460
ISBN: 978-1-124-90825-0
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