Connections Spotlight — Understanding through a multicultural lens the role historical trauma impacts healing, wellness

| June 9, 2020

Webinar presentation now available at CCC&Y’s Prevention webpage. Follow-up presentation to come.

Visit to view the presentation.

By the Coconino Coalition for Children & Youth

Historical trauma impacts so many of our community members and it is a topic that is not always openly discussed and well understood in mainstream society.  Further, it is often not considered when designing helping programs, systems or overall prevention programming and worse when placing judgements against groups of people. 

Each culture, each individual has their own story to tell, their own traditions, spiritual and cultural practices and so many have had those life components disrupted due to historical events and ongoing injustices.

During a webinar presentation held on June 9, 2020, culturalist and historic trauma specialist Iya Affo provided web viewers a brief overview of historic trauma to help inform community members, professionals and leaders about the creation and impacts of these traumas.  

Affo is the founder of Heal Historic Trauma and with Phoenix Rising in Residence (AZ).

Due to current events, Affo provided an overview of Covid-19’s impact on Native American and African Communities, including the role historic trauma, social injustice and capitalism play in health outcomes.  She then went on to discuss the components of wellness and why our systems disrupt wellness for so many. 

A descendent of a long line of traditional healers from the Benin Republic, Affo drew upon her own family’s journey — from West Africa, to Barbados, the Bahamas and finally the East Coast of the United States — to tell the story how Africans Americans were impacted by historic trauma and how that sense of unease and loss of traditional culture and stress has led to higher levels of chronic diseases including diabetes, obesity and asthma.

That stress has also impacted the Native American culture, with colonization leading to the loss of traditional healing ceremonies, family structures and the sense of balance that once dominated daily life.

As a result, African Americans and Native Americans report the shortest life expectancy of all cultural groups such as the Latinx, Asian and white populations, Affo said.

Affo, who has traveled to more than 30 nations, said she strives to cultivate love and inclusivity to help promote the healing and decolonization of indigenous people by harmonizing traditional medicine with western medicine to promote holistic healing.

Attendees appreciated her presentation and how it relates to current issues of social injustice and racism.

“I was in awe of how informative this training was and how knowledgeable the speaker was about the topic at hand.” 

“Visuals, quotes, and taking a look at this topic both big picture and with specific details. Thank you for helping continuing the learning and growing!” 

“Stories, her calm voice pulled me in, tremendous knowledge, relating topic to COVID-19 and current events.” 

“I appreciated the historical information, cultural focus, research and the weaving of these aspects together. The inclusion of perspectives given current events was powerful. The sharing of personal experiences was beneficial as well.”

CCC&Y created this webinar to go deeper into understanding trauma and healing especially concerning historical experience.  This training further takes into account current issues. There is no charge for this webinar, but we do ask that you consider sharing with others and complete the survey. 

Visit CCC&Y’s Prevention page to view the full presentation.  Additionally, please note that we will host part two at a future date in order to dive deeper into the topic material. Stayed tuned for upcoming details.


Category: Education, Health, Programs, Resources

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