Diet and Nutrition Among the Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation
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The purpose of this study is to document the ethnohistory of nutritional trauma and understand resiliency responses among the Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation. What local strategies and responses to nutritional trauma lead to positive health outcomes? This research will help identify the positive responses and strategies to nutritional trauma within the community to build upon and find community solutions to address the lingering health problems caused by nutritional trauma. Nutritional trauma involves the disruption of access to indigenous natural foods and medicines as a result of imposed and overwhelming external forces including development, introduction of agriculture, deforestation, environmental destruction, contamination by toxic wastes, pesticides and herbicides, and the imposition of land tenure laws that to a great extent exclude native ownership (Korn and Ryser 2005). Nutritional trauma is a subset of community trauma and historical trauma. “The historical experience of culture groups exposed to prolonged stress and suffering resulting from war, genocide, interpersonal violence triggers the ‘transfer’ of physiological, biological, and emotional stress to successive generations” (Korn and Ryser 2009). The data consisted of 40 interviews collected between September and December 2018. Correlation tables and logistic models (full model and step-wise model) were used to understand the data. The findings indicated 1.) there were no significant associations between the access variables and nutritional illness, 2.) growing up on the reservation was negatively correlated with reporting a nutritional illness, 3.) fitness was significantly associated with reporting a nutritional illness and 4.) having a family member that suffered from a nutrition related illness increased the likelihood of an participant reporting a nutritional illness. Today, the Chehalis tribe is actively working to repair the trauma to heal the soul wound. The reservations which once pained Native Americans can be transformed into sources of power and resilience today. Tribal members demonstrated resiliency in a number of ways including: participating in cultural events, learning and utilizing traditional ecological knowledge, using humor to connect and cope, knowledge and use of community resources, having a strong social network of friends and family, as well as, other personal practices, motivations, and desires to engage in healthier lifestyle practices.