This article addresses the experience of precarity and vulnerability in racialized gender-based violence from a structural perspective. Informed by Indigenous social theory and anticolonial approaches to intergenerational trauma that link settler colonial violence to the modalities of stress-inducing social, institutional, and cultural violences in marginalized women’s lives, the article argues that philosophical failures to understand trauma as a functional, organizational tool of settler colonial violence amplify the impact of traumatic experience on specific populations. It is trauma by design. The article explores this through the history of the concept of trauma and its connection to tragedy. The article gives a brief overview of prominent theories of trauma and contrasts these with the work of Dian Million (Tanana Athabascan) (2013), who highlights functional complicity of settler colonial institutions in shaping accounts of trauma in the west. The piece begins with an important illustration of the kinds of lives and experiences that call for a politicized understanding of trauma in anticolonial feminist theory. It ends by offering an expansive notion of structural trauma that is a methodological pivot for conducting trauma-based gender-based violence research in a decolonial context, which calls for an end to narratives of trauma that are severed from the settler colonial project of Native land dispossession and genocide.

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