Honoring Sand Creek, Healing from Legacies of Historical Trauma

Ramona Beltrán, PhD (University of Washington), is assistant professor in the DU Graduate School of Social Work, whose scholarship focuses on the intersections of historical trauma, embodiment, and environmental/social determinants of health as they affect health and risk behaviors in indigenous communities.

She is particularly interested in centering cultural protective factors, strengths and resiliencies in indigenous populations as they work to interrupt the intergenerational transmission of historical trauma. She uses decolonizing methodologies with an emphasis on qualitative methods that incorporate innovative geo-spatial photographic technologies and digital storytelling to support community-based research.

Beltrán believes narrative is both a powerful clinical practice and research method that helps individuals, families and communities articulate the conditions of their own existence, as well as solutions to their most pressing issues.

With more than 15 years of experience using arts, dance and movement, digital media, and narrative with Latino and indigenous communities, Beltrán also has worked on numerous research projects funded by the National Institutes of Health that examine health, mental health and substance abuse disparities in these same communities. Her intellectual contributions can be found in invited chapters in edited books, journal articles and news media, as well as national and international conferences and symposia.

Beltrán is passionate about teaching and believes that social work classrooms can be uniquely transformative spaces in which students learn to bridge theory and practice through embodied and experiential learning. Whether in the classroom, in community-based research or through community activism, Beltrán believes that social work practice and scholarship have the capacity to mobilize in co-authoring new stories of healing and equity as we strive toward a socially just society.

Dr Beltrán will be joined by Mr Otto Braided Hair, Northern Cheyenne, and Sand Creek survivor descendent.

Above text borrowed from: http://www.du.edu/cme/programs-services/summit/speakers.html.


Dr. Beltran summarizes her talk by  saying “Anchored in honoring the history of the Sand Creek Massacre and the resilience of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, the presentation explored the definition and meaning of historical trauma as well as the cumulative and ongoing experiences compounding its effects and outcomes in indigenous communities. Acknowledging the interconnectedness of people, time, place, and history, the presentation concluded by illuminating the need to heal from historically situated legacies of trauma within and across all communities” (Dr. Ramona Beltran, May 13, 2014).

Dr. Beltran also  shares “[She] was honored to share the presentation with Otto Braided hair, Northern Cheyenne Tribal Member and Sand Creek Descendant, and Coordinator of the San Creek Massacre Spiritual Healing Run and Walk” (Dr. Ramona Beltran, May 13, 2014).


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