Year: 2020 Source: The Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth. (2009). 2:2, p 267-276. SIEC No: 20200474

Indigenous people have experienced profound disruptions, including epidemics, forced relocation, cultural colonization, and genocide over the past few centuries. Indigenous young people have not evenly understood or consciously articulated these historical events,1 but the behavioral health consequences for them have been well documented. These historical events have been linked to acculturation stress and identity conflicts, and rapid social change has been associated with significant health problems among Indigenous young people. Conversely, studies have consistently found robust correlations between positive affiliation and engagement with their culture and Indigenous young people’s well-being and resilience. Resilience, consists in the processes by which people overcome life challenges to achieve their sense of well-being. Although the connection between culture and these processes are clear, previous studies have neglected to describe how cultural identity plays into Indigenous youth wellness and resilience. Specifically, they have failed to explain how a strong and positive link to their culture supports young people, especially as they encounter and respond to hardships. In this article, I will present a model for understanding the role of ethnic identity development in Indigenous youth resilience and will point to the value of historical consciousness in that process.