Intergenerational trauma, popularly known as historical distress, refers to a collective shock imposed on a particular group that shares certain characteristics, including customs, nationality, and spiritual affiliation. In other words, the term refers to an injustice that a group of people has gone through for many years and continues to experience. Several communities confronted this discrimination because of their unfortunate positions in the society.
The natives and the immigrants were among the mistreated people, and colonialism was the main cause of this trauma. Injustices, such as ethnic purification, genocide, forced acculturation, where people were forced to abandon their cultures in favour of foreign traditions and ways of life, were disturbing.
In Canada, the locals were compelled to adopt the modern administrative systems that were inconsistent to their traditions, yet they had never benefited from these new structures. For instance, the locals were expected to adopt the culture of capitalism and individualism where each person had to live his or her own life instead of embracing the culture of communalism. Trauma is a psychological condition that can be transmitted from parents to children.
In this regard, it is observed that no generation has ever enjoyed its rights in the society, since the white settlers took over the leadership of the country several years ago. The locals were incorporated into the financial system as underdogs, since their main role was simply to provide cheap labour, yet they were never give an opportunity to be represented in government by electing their own leader.
In the Canadian society, the issue of acculturation was emphasised after having believed that the best way of changing people’s culture was through instituting an education system that favoured only one race.
Based on this, many children were forced to speak the foreign language, behave in certain ways, and eat particular foods after they were removed from their homes in various parts of the country and placed in boarding schools where they never interacted with their parents.
The main aim was to ensure that European culture was adopted in the entire society. This was the greatest injustice that Canada has ever witnessed since it resulted in the loss of indigenous custom and language, undernourishment and subjection to violence. Children were forced to do things that they never wanted to practice. This act of removing children from their family systems led to one of the chronological sufferings that is noticeable in various age groups.
The defective parenting system among the natives is partly blamed on this historical injustice given the fact that children never had an opportunity to interact with their parents and know how family life is managed. Additionally, the country is facing a challenge in handling crime because of the biased criminal justice system that accuses blacks falsely of engaging in criminal activities, such as rape, murder, aggravated assault and kidnapping.
The reality of the matter is that crime is a social issue perpetrated by all members of the society, irrespective of ethnicity and race. The defective systems that victimise certain races as inferior cause historical trauma, including emotional suffering, susceptibility to posttraumatic stress disorder, complexity in coping with traumatic experiences, and meagre affection styles.
This explains the reason why divorce is rampant among blacks and other minorities, especially those from South America. Intergenerational trauma is a reality in the Canadian society and the government has a role to play in ensuring that minority communities gain confidence.