by Shana Lombard, Communications Assistant


Native American Programs will host a historical trauma workshop 4 pm. – 9 p.m. Friday, February 23, and 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Saturday, February 24 at Casa Latina for students and the community to learn how to identify trauma in their family and establish personal tools to apply healing to themselves and their family.

Robbie Paul
Dr. Robbie Paul will be presenting a workshop on historical trauma and the healing process at WSU this weekend.

The workshop will be led by Roberta L. Paul, PhD. She is a member of the Nez Perce Tribe and recently retired from WSU Spokane as the school’s director of Native American Health Sciences. Paul earned her doctorate in 2007 from Gonzaga University.

Attendees will learn information on how to understand their family’s timeline. Other activities include learning meditation techniques, drawing and dancing.

This workshop can help people heal and not be trapped in family trauma, Paul said. A lot of the information she has obtained comes from research of her own family and its dealings with trauma. She researched back to 1793 to her great-great grandfather Chief Ut-Sun-Malikan.

Dr. Paul provided the following workshop description:

Historical trauma is defined as suffering from devastating losses over several generations. An example of historical trauma is the Nez Perce War of 1877 which resulted in cultural conflict over ownership of land, religious practices, forced exile, loss of land, cultural living ways and forced assimilation. Native American researchers of historical trauma have defined these legacies as unresolved grief which can be manifested in health related diagnosis. Historical unresolved grief is defined by Maria Brave Heart-Jordan as chronic, delayed, or impaired and it is pathological. It is unresolved and the grief is manifested in various symptoms such as depression, substance abuse, and somatization. The legacies of historical trauma are now being recognized as contributing factors in physical health related diagnosis such as diabetes, depressions, alcoholism, and suicide. The primary goal of this workshop is to increase the participant’s awareness of his/her cultural background, beliefs, biases, and values, and explore the relationship between cultural self-awareness, cultural competency and historical trauma.

Dr. Paul was recently recognized as a 2018 honoree of the “Women of Courage” Award from University of Washington, and was recognized by WSU as a “Woman of Distinction” in 2014.

The event is free, but space is limited. You must pre-register to attend.

The address of the Casa Latina is 955 B Street, Pullman, WA 99163. Directions and more information on the house can be found at