Writing for Indian Country Today Media Network, Beverly Cook (Wolf Clan Mohawk) discusses how acts of genocide perpetrated upon Native Americans has passed "toxic stress" down the line from one generation to the next and how the evils of the past continue to hurt the people of today:
Toxic stress experienced by children can alter their brain, their genes and organ development if they do not have the caring support of an adult. So a young girl’s childhood experiences, her health and her diet will not only effect the outcome of her future pregnancies but also can effect her future grandchildren. She is not alone in this as the genes that come from the father have also been imprinted by his childhood and his environment in his mother’s womb. Combined, the mother and father lay the groundwork for their baby to grow and still the actual outcome can change depending on the environment in the womb. Imagine no worries or concerns, having nutritious food, adequate exercise, a loving partner, happiness and peace. The baby would form itself based on that particular environment as opposed to an environment laced with anger, fear, frustration or grief.
Read more here:
The Toxic Effects of Stress on American Indians