Historical and Contemporary American Indian Injustices: The Ensuing Psychological Effects

Talia Nelson, University of Massachusetts - Amherst

Thesis/Project Completion Date

May, 2011

Committee Chair

Kathleen A. Brown-Perez, UMass Amherst -


In this research I investigate the various ways in which the process of historical colonization has devastated the indigenous population and cultures. I explore and analyze its long-lasting effects. Additionally, this work delves into a range of the most frequent means of perpetuating American Indian stereotypes, discrimination, and violence that persists to date. I analyze and discuss resulting profound issues found within the American Indian society. In particular, effects on one’s mental, emotional, social, and sometimes physical health, and the development of definitive psychiatric disorders. In support of the current as well as previous research and findings, this work also discusses scientific and psychological evidence. In addition to the analyses involved in this study, I provide suggestions to eradicate discrimination and violence against American Indians in contemporary society, and suggestions for clinicians to provide the correct and beneficial treatment for American Indians suffering from any of the aforementioned disadvantages. Through my investigation on the effects of historical colonization on the American Indian population, I found a relationship between cultural devastation and long-lasting effects. Specifically, experiences of historical loss and forced acculturation alter the well-being of many American Indians. Furthermore, through my exploration of contemporary means of cultural violence, discrimination, and stigmatization of American Indians, I also found a significant impact on the well-being of these individuals. Overall, this study ultimately provides societal awareness and a sense of the extreme disadvantages many American Indians have faced throughout history and continually to this day.


Recommended Citation

Nelson, Talia, "Historical and Contemporary American Indian Injustices: The Ensuing Psychological Effects" (2011). Commonwealth Honors College Theses and Projects. Paper 6.