Inherited Trauma and Nutritional Deficiencies Reflected in Cherokee Skulls

Heather Callaghan
Activist Post

What is it about the changing skulls of Cherokee Native Americans that could possibly tell us anything about the effects of war, genocide and starvation on the human body?

Those traumatic changes, it turns out, are passed on genetically and have everything to do with everyone alive today.

In what may seem like a strange study, published in Annals of Human Biology, an important revelation arises.

Researchers from North Carolina State University and the University of Tennessee have found that environmental stressors – from the Trail of Tears to the Civil War – led to significant changes in the shape of skulls in the eastern and western Cherokee people. They are emphasizing the role of environmental factors in shaping our physical characteristics.

During tumultuous times in the 1800s, researchers noticed a steady decline in head lengths for both males and females in eastern and western Cherokees. Using their birth dates and ages, the changes also correlated with times of upheaval, war, disease and hunger.

For instance, the western band of the Cherokee was subject to the Trail of Tears in 1838, intertribal warfare in the West, disease epidemics, and the U.S. Civil War from 1861 to 1865. In the eastern band, there was a steady decline for males, but a sharp decline for females beginning in the late 1830s – coinciding with the Trail of Tears, when the eastern band fled into the Great Smoky Mountains to avoid forced evacuation to the West.

In the western band, males and females shared a similar pattern of decline: a sharp decline from the late 1820s to the 1850s, followed by a short increase, and then another sharp decline in the early 1860s with the onset of the Civil War.

Co-author Dr. Ann Ross said:

This work also adds to the body of literature on environmental effects on skull growth.

When times are tough, people have less access to adequate nutrition and are at greater risk of disease. This study demonstrates the impact that those difficult times had on the physical growth of the Cherokee people. 

The study also contributes to our understanding of how environmental stressors can influence skull measurements, which has value for helping us understand prehistoric cultures, historic populations, and the impact of environmental factors on the health of current populations in the developing world.

The discovery the researchers stumbled on while studying the skulls is not a new idea.

In the early 20th century, Dr. Weston A. Price noticed a disturbing trend with his young dental patients. The Western world seems to think that the need for braces, spacing retainers, cavity fillings, wisdom tooth removal and dry socket are normal – none of those things were normal! Nor are they today.

He noticed more and more patients needing braces – their jaws weren’t expanding and their teeth were growing in crooked. His colleagues thought he was crazy for suggestion nutritional degeneration. So he set off around the world to photograph and interview people, oftentimes primitive peoples, and found many wide sets of bright white, beautiful sets of straight teeth – fully intact. All without any of the marvels of modern dentistry. It had been their traditional, nutrient-dense native diets.

Francis Marion Pottenger Jr. studied cats and their native diets which you can read about in Pottenger’s Cats. Cats eating raw native diets thrived for generations, whereas their counterparts who ate cooked and non-native diets eventually ceased to procreate and were subject to disease within just a few generations. They also experience arthritis and skeletal deformities! Similar results can be seen with mice consuming a heavy GMO diet where the third generation might be sterile.

At the time, Price and Pottenger may have been ridiculed for suggesting nutrition for gaining and passing on physical regeneration, but perhaps not anymore. The Cherokee skulls reflect similar skeletal changes as a result of traumatic upheaval, deficiencies and subsequent disease.

Homeopathic practitioners understand the idea that disease states and deficiencies are passed on. Homeopaths not only treat the whole body but can tackle all symptoms that stem from groups of symptoms or disease states called miasms. (As opposed to seeing a specialist for each disease symptom) Miasms are passed on genetically and can be exacerbated by environmental changes (chemicals and heavy metals), deficiencies and suppressive measures towards disease – like drugs and creams used to “push down” symptoms, and force them inward by external means.

While modern science gravitates towards mocking the above methods, they truly are starting to admit the same exact concepts that were known as far back as the 1800s. Some researchers fear that the overuse of antibiotics can pass harmful changes into offspring. Homeopaths could have predicted that and there is some anecdotal evidence of their unheeded warnings during the wonder-phases of Western medicine. Just recently, a study discovered that a variety of traumas can be passed down through microRNAs. Of course, the intentions and conclusions of modern research differ greatly from holistic healing approaches.

The further you study it, the more it appears that the genetic line got really botched down through the ages. The more it appears that modern methods of changing the entire ecology and symptom suppression are deliberately engineering a diminishing of the human race. But knowledge of the past can help reverse it, and the future can be changed.

Fortunately, nutrient-dense diets and help from naturopathic modalities including homeopathy can reverse disease states for healing today – and preserve posterity. Bach flower remedies and homeopathy can alleviate generational trauma. Unfortunately, the continued instances of induced mass-trauma from genocide, war and other evil deeds require a much bigger remedy.

Heather Callaghan is a natural health blogger and food freedom activist. You can see her work at and Like at Facebook.

Recent posts by Heather Callaghan:

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