"Native Americans may experience symptoms linked to intergenerational trauma, stemming largely
from years of oppression and detrimental government policies," said center Director Darrel Stolle. "When working
with Native American children who have been exposed to violence, it is essential to understand how the current
trauma is impacted by historical events."
Aaron Morsette is the center's trauma intervention specialist from Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation,
home to Montana's Chippewa Cree tribe. He said, "In every Native American community where we have worked, tribal
members have endorsed the relevance and value of this project in addressing some of the mental health needs of
Van den Pol said, "Since we first started this project in Rocky Boy, we have seen significant
growth. In fact, we have had the honor of receiving invitations from many sovereign Indian nations, including the
Blackfeet tribe, the Leech Lake tribe in Minnesota, the Oglala people on the Pine Ridge Reservation and the
Confederated Tribes of the Salish and Kootenai on the Flathead."
CBITS was developed in Los Angeles and used with Hispanic and Asian children. In Indian country,
CBITS initially was delivered in the fall 2004 to children on the Rocky Boy's reservation. Morsette recently
completed data analysis from the CBITS delivery. Results indicate that 14 percent of children who participated
in the initial survey demonstrated significant levels of depression and post-traumatic symptoms.
Following completion of the CBITS program, 75 percent of children reported they were better able
to concentrate and no longer felt sad. The remaining 25 percent who didn't show significant improvement on the survey
reported to counselors that they felt better.
"Community and school violence is quite common in our society and can have long-term emotional
impacts on children and adults," van den Pol said. "Fortunately, in our demonstration sites, children who
participated in CBITS improved."